Years ago I was in awe of an old boss who always seemed to make the right business decisions – whereas mine were somewhat erratic at that time.
The CEO of international publishing company, Random House, sums up the secret of a decision-maker’s intuition like this:
“People often talk about the use of intuition in making business decisions – the gut feel that some leaders refer to as an almost mystical ability, so somewhat daunting to those who do not feel they have it and probably not one that could be easily taught. Tough decisions are taken on the basis of careful analysis and lots of debate. However, the most senior person in the team eventually has to say yes or no and it can often be a narrow choice.”
“When intuition or gut feel comes into play for me, I suspect my mind is unconsciously processing years of experience out of which an instinct for the right decision emerges. I have likened it to a microprocessor in the brain categorising and testing all the arguments until a way forward is found. I can also have an intuition about a new direction for the company or a department in difficulty which again probably comes as a result of hearing a series of faint signals carefully stored which, in aggregate, point to an opportunity or a problem.”
“I often give advice to young people and tell them to follow their instincts. They may fail, but at least they will learn from failure. Learning to trust your instincts, which are honed over years of experience, is a core part of being able to make effective, tough decisions.”
As a mature decision-maker myself, I can confirm I’m much better than I was – but when I make mistakes (as I still do), I still try to learn from them, and try again!