October 19, 2009
“Intuition teaches us from within. It is our unerring guide. In our heart there is the hint of the next step. You must remain attentive and receptive to all possibilities, even possibilities that don’t seem logical to you at the moment. It may be something simple, such as making a phone call or having the idea to set up an appointment with someone. Intuition is a great tool in your profession and in your life. It will give you a sense of who you can trust, who is ethical, who has your best interests at heart and who you should avoid altogether.” Excerpt from Professional Destiny—Discover the Career You Were Born For
Have you ever gone against your gut and made a hiring decision that sooner or later came back to bite you? Or gotten burned in a business deal because you ignored that little clause in the contract that nagged at you, and signed it anyway? Did you feel that deep down you knew better, but you did it regardless because all the “data” said it was the right thing to do?
Hiring based on resume, MBA and “qualifications” alone is only one part of the equation. That’s the stuff that looks good on paper. But looking good on paper doesn’t cover someone’s work ethic, ability to make the right decision under pressure or think out of the box—sometimes all it means is that they are great at taking tests.
In Professional Destiny, I talk about the difference between “head” and “heart.” Head—is the home of our rational thought and logic. Heart—is the home of our intuition (some also call it our gut). It is the source of our inspiration and guides us to new possibilities that would not be found by logic or planning.
In the workplace, intuition is especially useful for making all-important employee hiring decisions, or for choosing a business partner. For example, during the interviewing process some people are polished interviewers and present themselves well, but then turn out to be much less impressive when they’re on the job. Others are less polished, but you have an inexplicable sense they will be great contributors on a day-to-day basis. Often it all comes down to intuition. It’s an inexplicable sense that you have, but you often can’t pinpoint the reason.
When meeting with a person, if you suspect a possible flaw, note it, and don’t rationalize it away. Ask yourself if it is something you could live with. Keep two lists – one of qualifications (rational) and one of impressions (intuition). As I have practiced this technique over the years, I have found that my impressions almost always prove to be accurate (even more so than the “qualifications”). In fact, when I intuit the weakness (lack of eye contact at important questions, or a trace of defensiveness) it almost always plays out in bigger ways later. The only unpredictable variable seemed to be my judgment of how much, or how little, that “weakness” would impact the person’s performance in that particular role.
We are given the gifts of rationality and intuition, head and heart. Rationality helps us with survival, intuition helps us with breakthroughs that are genuine, unique and fresh. Having too much in the head, is just a cause for headaches! Find the harmony in the combination of head and heart, and you’ll uncover the most powerful mix.
Filed under: Business Best Practices