“You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs
It is an indisputable fact that decisions matter a lot in the business world. They play an integral role in making or breaking any organization’s chances of succeeding in the long run. Whether you’re the CEO of a large enterprise, a budding startup hoping to make it to the big league, or a junior executive burning the midnight oil you’re bound to make decisions.
When it comes to making critical business decisions, many business leaders erroneously think that it is solely a standard logical process that lacks human emotions and intuition. However, it is not exactly the case. In reality, humans make more effective decisions when they excellently combine their cognitive strength, emotions, and experience.
Rather than following a data-driven mindset and relying on cold, hard numbers, you can make more informed and better decisions when data is filtered through variables such as emotions, previous experiences, judgments, and context. After all, you are dealing with people and you will need to include all the important elements of learning to trust your gut – even the data doesn’t support it.
If you are one of those business leaders who make decisions by relying on the massive data and not your gut, this blog post will make you do so.
So, What are Gut Feelings?
According to a study published in Nature.com’s Scientific Reports, people can make better and more accurate business decisions when they rely on their gut feelings. The term gut feeling is basically an informal synonym used for any interoceptive sensation that guides human behavior. These sensations carry viscerosensory information that originates from heart, lungs, skin, bladder and other organs, not only the gut. People with high sensitivity to interoceptive signals can make complex decision-making easily.
Successful Business Leaders Have Strong Decision-Making Skills
The human brain is wired in a way to assess options logically but learning to listen to your body can improve your decision-making skills. Business leaders are constantly required to make complex decisions. Despite the plethora of information, data, analytics and the latest technology available, there are many smart leaders who make critical business decisions based on intuition, instead of an in-detailed analysis and facts.
Project managers, business leaders, and marketers have to make critical decisions on a daily basis to effectively run their projects and grow their business. Many successful business leaders have a strong ability to process information and they prefer to make decisions using their gut feeling.
“I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It’s done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.” Richard Branson
With the passage of time, your body exudes positive or negative vibes about particular situations. This happens because your gut feelings are subconsciously associated with previous experiences and therefore influence your decision making.
This infographic has beautifully explained the concept of gut feeling and how it impacts our decisions.
Data and Numbers are Not Always Right
It can be easy to trust cold, hard data, but always keep in mind that the numbers can be manipulated and they don’t always show the complete picture.
One of my friends who runs a web design agency performed an in-depth analysis of his client’s marketing data that revealed some interesting insights about their customer’s purchase behaviors. Based on those insights they tweaked their tactics, but the results didn’t happen as per their expectations. Later they discovered that the analysts had made some errors thereby skewing the numbers and recommendations. After the postmortem, they revised their marketing strategy in order to get their business on the right track.
That’s why it is advised not to allow data to influence every decision where human emotions and relationships are involved. Try to place yourself directly in the situation and think about how you would react as a human being and then reach a solid decision.
Let Your Team Follow Their Gut Feelings to Try Out Different Things
They say creativity flourishes when it’s untethered and free. As manager of a modern enterprise, you should give your team complete freedom to take calculated risks and be creative. If your team comes up with a radical idea that goes against the data, don’t be afraid to take the risk. Give them the chance to prove themselves, perhaps it will turn out to be a hit and formula of success. You never know that one little experiment can take your business towards unprecedented heights of success. Don’t just be brave but lead a team of brave people.
How Gut Feelings Can Help You Solve Customers’ Problems
If you want your customers to think positively of your products and services, carefully think about all the possible ways to satisfy and delight your customers. Adding a human touch to your brand can do wonders. Brands that solely rely on the data can turn them into a robot and today’s customers don’t like such interactions. They want to see the human side of your brand.
Those who invest their time and energy to understand what resonates with customers and what are their pain points can come up with well-informed product-related decisions as their guts are more tune to users’ needs. Trusting your gut may sometime feel panicky, but practice helps you make perfect decisions.
Now It’s Your Turn to Dial into your Intuition
Every decision we make is driven by a combination of different motivations, emotions, and available information. Though many organizational leaders prefer to make well informed data-driven decisions. But trust me, there are moments when even the numbers aren’t there to make well-informed and lucrative business decisions. Your gut feelings guide you towards the best decision. Successful business leaders make smart business choices with their heart, head, and gut. I hope this blog would’ve furnished enough reasons to make you trust your intuition the next time you’re facing a difficult challenge.