Intuition – should it be part of your business decisions?


The idea intuition has a role in decision making is both ridiculous and frightening to many. It’s ridiculous because everyone knows it’s not factual, it’s unpredictable, and it lacks conscious reasoning. At the same time, it’s frightening because many will say they rather trust their gut or go with their feeling when making a decision.

Intuition seems to be one of those oddball behaviors that’s acceptable when gut and feeling decisions turn out to be surprisingly accurate. Or, dismissed as a hair-brained approach that defies logic and reason when asked, “What were you thinking?”

Shouldn’t the goal be to make the best and most realistic decision? Shouldn’t it be based on facts, analysis, logic, and reason? Yes, that is what we believe we have to do if we’re going to make the ‘right’ decisions in business.

We prefer to put our brain cells through a left brain thinking process. It’s where logic and reasoning, gives the brain time to understand, examine, value, and consider outcome and consequences. It’s a careful and thoughtful process.

However, just before we reach that final point of no return, with all the pro and con reasons staring us in the face, how is it that we opt for a choice that doesn’t make sense?

What is Intuition?

For too long, we’ve looked at intuition as being this illogical process that overrides rational thought. In a sense, that is correct. Intuition does override rational thought.

Intuition is super fast because it does not engage in thinking. It’s actually your brain processing its database looking for previously stored patterns of recognition and responses.

And, because it’s nonverbal, it communicates mostly as a ‘feeling’ or ‘sense’. When we try to verbally explain, it’s something like “I can’t tell you why but it feels – right or wrong.”

5 Step Intuition Brain Response

What’s beneath conscious awareness is your brain’s normal 5 step intuition brain response

  1. Scan current situation
  2. Compare to database of long-term memory
  3. Look for response patterns of beliefs and previous experiences that are similar or different
  4. Match to the dominate similarity or difference
  5. Send feedback response

Based on life experiences and beliefs and how you responded to situations in the past, your brain tells you if something sounds too good to be true, if a new person has either good or bad vibes, or if taking a risk is worth it.

How to Look at Intuition

Now, this is what your brain does, but does it mean that it’s always accurate?

According to leading researchers on intuition – Daniel Kahneman and Gary Klein, a false pattern of intuition is also possible. It’s more likely that there are areas or domains where intuition performs better than in others with more predictable outcomes. Also, there are other areas where intuition is less valid.

For example, an online marketer when doing in-person networking may have better intuitive insight when deciding who to work with. They gain experience from picking up different kinds of social cues and are better able to “read” people.

Conversely, intuition may be less valid when making a decision to connect with someone when relying on computer text alone.

I think we’ve all been there. We read a great sales copy and immediately buy. We have a good feeling that this is what we need for our business right now. Only, to find it’s not what we expected. Here’s where some logic, reasoning, and analysis is beneficial.

One one hand, Kahneman points out we need to acknowledge our boundaries and areas of expertise before relying solely on intuition.

On the other hand, there’s “deliberate practice.”

But while the quantity of practice is important for developing reliable intuitions, just as important is the quality. The highest quality form of practice, the one that most reliably leads to accurate intuitions, is known as deliberate practice. Deliberate practice isn’t just rote repetition — it involves constant adjustment based on feedback.

These adjustments are critical, because the patterns that we initially recognize are often slightly off the mark, or just simply wrong. Feedback helps us know when allowing us to revise those patterns accordingly.

Do You Use Intuition Or Not?

Your brain naturally defaults to providing you with intuition. It will be your choice to pay attention or not. Some feel comfortable making intuitive decisions. Others want to rely on and trust their logic and reasoning.

Basically, it comes down to being comfortable with how you make business decisions.

However, your decision outcome always tells you if your intuition or logic and reasoning was right or wrong.

Either way, when that next business decision comes up, you now have feedback you can think about and feedback you have a memory access to.  

How much does intuition play a part in your business decisions?


Image: Creative Merlin CC0 Pixabay 2410364