POV: Don’t Trust Your Gut.

Don't Trust Your Gut

Point-of-View: Don’t Trust Your Gut

Harvard Business Review (HBR) May 2003


  • Intuition refers to the brain’s process of interpreting and reaching conclusions without resorting to conscious thought.
  • 45% of executives rely more on instinct than facts and figures to run their businesses.
  • We give disproportionate weight to information confirming, not challenging our assumptions, preferring conclusions justifying, not upending, the status quo.
  • Information first received about a situation distorts our interpretation of subsequent (updated) data received about the same situation. The more we see the less we are open to see it.
  • We seek patterns in new situations even when they don’t exist interpreting data based on old patterns missing what is different and increasing our risk of making the wrong decision.
  • The instinctive rush to apply a pattern to a situation cuts-off or narrows an individual’s or a group’s thinking too quickly. Impatient with ambiguity, the
    mind naturally seeks closure.
  • While some have argued that intuition becomes more valuable in highly complex and challenging environments, the opposite is actually true.
  • Our desire to believe in the wisdom of intuition blinds us to the less romantic realities of intentional and effective business decision making.

Our Point of View:

  • Being viewed as highly intuitive by others is recognized as a “compliment of competence”.
  • Daily demands and pressures create a convenient excuse for intuitive (reactive) decision-making.
  • Intuitive decision-making is an addiction: Dependence increases with use & short-cuts thinking.
  • Over time, preconceived ideas, past experiences, biases, and preferences short circuit our intuition.
  • Intuition is not a teachable (transferable) competence to share and scale across an organization.
  • Over dependence on intuition puts individuals and their organizations at considerable risk.

pdfDon’t Trust Your Gut

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