Entering the Age of Intuition: Why Execs Must Learn to Trust Their Gut

With the omnipresence of the web, corporate control has completely disappeared. Business today is all about all kinds of companies participating to make something happen. Nobody knows anymore what the products will do and what the markets will be. Markets define themselves.

You have to be able to react to them organically.

So in this chaotic economic environment where fundamental industries like agriculture, manufacturing, automotive retailing, shopping malls and transportation are experiencing relentless disruption (and insurance soon to come), it's obvious that control is an illusion and deductions are mostly obsolete. Why? Because they are based on a distorted and increasingly irrelevant past...

That leads us to intuitive decision making, which GE's Jack Welch championed in his book, "Gut," from the early 2000s.

At a business discussion group I used to facilitate, I posed a question to attendees: "Which of the following would you like to understand to be a more capable executive? !) Technology? 2) Or intuition?

To my surprise, all attendees wanted to learn how to trust their intuition at the office!

In effect, they wanted to work at a higher level, to move from a focus on lower levels of information to higher levels of intuition, insight and imagination.

The first, more traditional approach to decision making is informed by the ego while the second is informed by our 'higher self.'

Award-winning mathematician Alexander Grothendieck solved problems by combining intuition and ingenuity. His secret formula was to 'dissolve' problems by finding the right level of generality within which to frame them.


To get to this point, a state of 'dissociation' is necessary, a letting down of egotistical barriers in order that inner symbols can be appreciated and distinguished. The change of focus alone will enhance your intuitive urges. Associations arise more easily through the subconscious areas. You'll recognize patterns. You'll connect the dots, sensing the next step forward.

Let us back up to provide a better theoretical understanding of intuition at work.

Logic builds its monuments step by step, one thought before the other in a series where each deduction is dependent upon the thought before. The intuitions are of a more spontaneous nature.

Logic deals with exterior conditions, with cause-and-effect relationships. Intuitions deal with immediate experience of the most intimate nature, with subjective notions and activities that in your terms move far quicker than the speed of light

The ego attempts to break down action into smaller and smaller units. Your intuition tries to perceive action as a whole.

The ego breaks down for purposes of examination, the intuitions construct.

When using intuition for business decision making, don't push too hard for answers on an intellectual basis. If you think too hard, you will come up with something too literal. The intellect cannot translate the data into wisdom, no matter how much technology you have nearby.

Within moments, the intuitions can deliver knowledge that the intellect may struggle with for years and may never acquire.

If you have a limited conception of the nature of reality, then your ego will do its best to keep you in the small enclosed area of your accepted reality.

If, on the other hand, your intuition is allowed freedom, it will communicate some knowledge of 'greater dimensions' to the most physically oriented portion of your personality.

What happens in this process is that inspirations - escorted by your intuition - will emerge freely and naturally, feeding you with new impulses, new understanding of trends, new product ideas, new insight into the customer and new strategies for growth.

As you become more confident in the utilization of your intuition, you will begin to allow 'thinking and doing' to become the limited functions that they really are.

As you begin to align your true self with your intuition, you will gradually shift your perspective on what success really means, creating a new personal paradigm.

Author of this essay, Lynn Hinderaker, is a speaker and consultant to visionary companies who are focused on high frequency planning and creative leadership. Use him to increase your strategic innovation. Contact him for your next event or in-house executive education.


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