Have phrases such as “Trust your instincts,” “Go with your gut,” or Listen to your intuition” ever popped up in your mind?
In today’s environment high stakes, decisions arise every day. Executives, professionals, team leaders and people of all walks of life are faced with the a variety of decisions. We must battle shifting goals, missing information, nonstop confusion, and do-or-die deadlines. We must constantly make choices that can and will impact our future every day. How we transform ourselves into becoming faster, better decision makers is the hallmark of a great leader.
In 1998, Gary Klein, an expert in cognitive psychology, conducted extensive research on the topic of intuition and published the book entitled Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions. In his ground breaking work on intuition he delved into how how people perceive and observe, think and reason, act and react. In understanding human behavior, Klein worked extensively to determine what it took to make good decisions. The single most significant finding was in the power of using intuition. In fact he staked his career on this concept “the hunch that people have grossly underestimated the power of gut instinct.”
His work included extensive research regarding people and how “because they are active interpreters of their world, their experience cannot be deconstructed into the kinds of rules that will fit into expert systems.” He explored how using rational deductive reasoning works in neutral, non stressful situations, but as the stakes and stress increase, our decision making ability changes drastically.
The decision makers that makes better choices consistently are the persons who “internalized” themselves into the situation. Even if the decision seemed irrational, they more than thought about the decision the more they could feel the rightness or the wrongness of the decision.
How we handle decision making therefore can be greatly enhanced by developing our awareness. It takes more than just what we think in a given situation, but also how we process our feelings in our life experiences. Take me for example, I have a track record of being able to instinctively know when it is time to make a change. What literally pops up for me when a situation doesn’t feel right is that I am a “round peg in a square whole.” I feel tight, constrained and very uncomfortable when I am in a situation that I absolutely know is not the right. As soon as this happens, my intuition takes off like a rocket and I know that I must change course immediately or move on.
Trusting intuition pays off every time! I’d learn to hear from you if you have any tips on how your intuition has paid off for you.