Work Traits

Intuitive Decision Making

Intuitive Decision Making

This motivation is especially beneficial in entrepreneurship, ideation, creativity, and selling.
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What does it mean to have intuitive decision making?

Repetition isn’t something you need. You’re able to trust your gut feel about a person’s behavior or communication after just one partial or full exposure to them.

From that single encounter, you’re able to use your imagination and extrapolate the missing pieces, which gives you a pretty solid idea of what future interactions will be like. 

You’re naturally trusting, until someone gives you a reason to think otherwise. You value efficient decisions, but recognize that your desire for speed means you might have to change your mind after a decision is made.

In F4S: Automatic

In F4S: Automatic

Your level of comfort to trust or draw a conclusion after just partial or little exposure to something.

Your level of comfort to trust or draw a conclusion after just partial or little exposure to something.

Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.

Robert Graves
Robert Graves

Leaders with intuitive decision making

Miguel Patricio

Miguel Patricio

You might not immediately recognize the name Miguel Patricio, but we’re willing to bet that you recognize the phrase, “Dilly Dilly.”

Patricio is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company behind Bud Light. When “Dilly Dilly” was used in commercials for the beer brand, it quickly went viral.

But, it might surprise you to learn that there wasn’t much strategy behind those two silly words. Instead, the phrase was something that was suggested off the cuff by the company’s ad agency. Patricio and his team decided to just run with it—and it’s a good thing they did.

Ursula Burns

As the former CEO of Xerox Corporation, Ursula Burns knows that sometimes you need to make intuitive decisions in business. Fortunately, it’s something she excels at.

“When we have to make a decision that is not clear, or that is a jump-ball decision, we use two things to guide our decision making,” she said in an interview with Triple Crown Leadership, going on to explain how she weighs their customers’ pain points and innovation.

While she does take a little bit of time to factor those two strategic elements into her choices, she’s still comfortable making quick decisions based on her gut feel.

Eric Schmidt

Former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, isn’t shy about naming fast decisions as a core factor of Google’s success. He says Google couldn’t afford to drag its feet and delay executing on ideas.

That meant Schmidt needed to be an intuitive decision maker—which was an area where he excelled. 

“The most important thing to do is to have quick decisions,” he said in an interview for the podcast, Masters of Scale. “You’ll make some mistakes, but you need decision making.”

The benefits of intuitive decision making

Quick decisions

Your ability to trust your gut and draw conclusions after limited experience means you’re able to make efficient decisions.

Creativity

You’re skilled at filling in “missing pieces” after gathering a limited amount of information, which makes you particularly creative.

Relationships

You place a high amount of trust in others (unless they prove they deserve otherwise), and that enables you to build solid, valuable relationships.

The blind spots of intuitive decision making

Misguided decisions

Sometimes you need more experience and exposure in order to make a good decision. If you’re unwilling to do that, you run the risk of making a mistake.

Commitment

Not everybody is as readily as convinced as you are, which can be frustrating when you’re ready to move forward as it might take others longer to commit to your ideas.

Rash

Moving forward after brief exposure makes you efficient, but it can also make you look impulsive to team members who don’t share your intuitive decision making style.

How to increase your intuitive decision making

1) Observe things closely.

In order to make decisions intuitively, you need to sharpen your intuition. You can do that by turning up your observation skills and paying close attention to details—like nonverbal cues.

Even if you have limited exposure to something, you’ll have soaked up all of the information you could get your hands on in that moment. That will enable you to fill in the gaps on your own and reach a conclusion.

2) Make quick decisions.

One surefire way to build up your intuitive decision making is to give yourself no other choice. If you’d normally take more time to gather information and feedback, force yourself to make a judgment call then and there.

For example, if your team has pitched a new project and needs your approval to move forward, resist the urge to ask for more details and think about it for a few more days. Set a goal to issue your approval (or not) by the end of that meeting. Doing so will force you to trust yourself and the information you have.

3) Think about worst-case scenarios.

Often, what prevents us from making quick or intuitive decisions is the fear of failure. What if that choice isn’t right? We try to take in all accounts and information, and then we end up with analysis paralysis. 

When faced with a choice and an opportunity to be intuitive, ask yourself about the worst thing that could happen if you made a decision right then and there. It’s likely not as big of a do-or-die situation as you think, and that can give you the encouragement you need to make a faster decision.

4) Be willing to make mistakes.

Your gut feel is strong and enlightening, but that doesn’t mean it’s always right. If you’re going to try to strengthen your intuitive decision making, you’re going to make some mistakes. Not every decision you make will be a good one. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and be willing to experience some trial and error. It can be tough, but it’s also when the most valuable lessons are learned.

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