Gut gets a bad rap

April 17, 2011

Gut gets a bad rap…dismissed as merely emotional (i.e. anti-rational) we’re encouraged to rely on more scientific approaches to decision making.  However, I’m of the firm belief that ‘gut’ can also be shorthand for ‘accumulated and painfully acquired wisdom’.  This Harvard Business Review blog post from Modesto A. Maidique is an interesting take on this issue.  Research now suggests that gut instinct is stronger when we’re in familiar territory.

I asked CEOs to estimate how knowledgeable they were in the area in which they had made the decision. Not surprisingly, their success rate was several times higher for decisions made in the fields where they had expert knowledge.

So ‘gut’ instinct is contextual – we rely in factual information and align that with a capacity to reflect

At its best, the key to effective, intuitive decisions is best conveyed in two wise sayings: “Know your business” and “Know yourself.” The sweet spot for business decisions is when both domain knowledge and self knowledge are high; when you have the knowledge to shrewdly interpret the facts and the wisdom to steer clear of the biases and destructive emotions that can hinder success.

That makes a lot of sense to me!

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