“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, film making, and business – everything.” David Lynch
Opinions are divided about the nature and impact of intuition. Some people think it is a form of pattern recognition, others think it is a subliminal message from a spiritual realm, and still others (I among them) think it can be either. No one denies its potential value.
Intuition usually plays a key role when making decisions and I think there are two types: enlightened intuition that is guided and informed by knowledge, training, and/or past experience (as in an ER) and unenlightened intuition when gambling in a casino or selecting lottery numbers.
According to Lynn Robinson, “This book is based on Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business, a book I wrote more than a decade ago…You’ll find many new interviews and techniques as well as leading research to truly Put Your Intuition to Work so it can guide you to an extraordinary life…Whether you call it a gut feeling, an instinct, a hunch, an inner voice, or simply your intuition, there is guidance available to you every moment of the day.”
Robinson quotes several “gut trusters” who include Howard Schultz, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Bennis, Donna Karan, and Richard Branson. They trusted a source of guidance that is in fact counter-intuitive when making major decisions that reject conventional wisdom. You can add Jeff Bezos to their number. He put at risk everything he had when deciding to launch a new business that would sell books only online. The “dots” he connected were visible to everyone but he knew (a) which dots to connect and (b) in which configuration to organize them. He was receptive to the “inner wisdom” he needed and knew what to do with it.
Bennis co-authored a book with Noel Tichy, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, in which they assert that what really matters “is not how many calls a leader gets right, or even what percentage of calls a leader gets right. Rather it is important how many of the important ones he or she gets right.” They go on to suggest that effective leaders “not only make better calls, but they are able to discern the really important ones and get a higher percentage of them right. They are better at a whole process that runs from seeing the need for a call, to framing issues, to figuring out what is critical, to mobilizing and energizing the troops.” What role does in tuition play? Bennis calls it his “inner voice” and says that listening to it and trusting it is one of the most important leadership lessons he has learned.
I commend Lynn Robinson on the abundance of valuable in formation, insights, and counsel she provides in Put Your Intuition to Work. I think it is a must read for all C-level executives as well as for those now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked on one. In fact, anyone who makes important decisions each day should read it. Only then can they develop enlightened intuition as an equal partner with various analytical skills, notably deduction and induction, when faced with questions to answer or problems to solve.