Are Your Instincts Helping or Hurting Your Business?
Do you trust your instincts? Would you pursue a strategic course that felt right in your gut, even in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary? Here are a few somewhat random thoughts about the pros and cons of relying on instincts to run a business.
Following your instincts eliminates second thoughts, which in and of themselves can derail an initiative — to say nothing of keeping you up at night. It’s hard to move forward decisively and in a straight line if you’re looking over your shoulder.
Strong convictions of the type I just mentioned can become negative if they turn into pure stubbornness. How long do you stick with a plan that feels right but isn’t delivering results? It’s hard to change course if you’re wearing blinders.
Breakthrough ideas often defy reason. They don’t line up with the available data. Instincts, which are based on our unique experience and our unique personality, have the capacity to take a business to the next level, to zig when they zag.
Then again, because instinct has a uniqueness to it, it can take you down a uniquely bad path as well as a uniquely good one. This may be why it’s so difficult to translate success in one line of business to another. For instance, the experiences that make a sales person great may also make him or her a very poor sales manager.
Leaders who set course by instinct must be highly effective communicators. It’s easy to explain business decisions that are based on data, but hard to explain ones based on a feeling or a theory. Even if the plan is correct, it will get botched if the team doesn’t understand it.
OVER TO YOU
How heavily do you rely on instinct to run your business? Do you think you need to rely on instinct more … or less?