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The one where the "Boot" was on the other foot – Part 2 "The way we think"

Last week I was invited to join a demonstration day with TrainersKitbag (@trainerskitbag) and in yesterdays blog here I talked about my reflections from the day focussing on “The Roles we Play”.  In today’s blog I’d like to share my reflections regarding Intuition.

Part 2 “The way we think”
I have to say that I had only a rudimentary idea of what the demo day would involve, let alone the outcome or potential business impact.  Yet I knew the day was a great opportunity and I felt that it would be a valuable experience – I just didn’t know how.

If I had to justify the business value of the demo day to a “higher authority” my analytical, cognitive mind probably would have struggled.  However, my intuitive mind knew this was the right thing to do.  As it turned out, it was exactly the right thing to do.

Furthermore, during the demonstration day our team of 3 relied heavily on intuitive thinking with successful results.  At times, we would consciously and methodically solve a problem.  Other times we “just knew the right thing to do next” but couldn’t say why or how we knew it to be correct.  The hunch, instinct or gut reaction was evident throughout the day and in much of our problem solving activity.

The way we think we think
Ever asked yourself how you come to the decisions that you make?  The chances are that if you tried to describe it to someone you’d probably come up with a perfectly rational description of a thought process.  It might even look like a step by step process of “how to think”.

A lot of what we do in the workplace is based on an expectation that there is a rational, cognitive, analytical description of what to do.  We interview to a set of criteria… we make investment decision based on xyz parameters… we work to a set process… you get the idea.

Yet, if you spent time on this you’d probably describe some of your decision making as “if it feels right.. go ahead.”, or “if it smells a bit fishy… leave it alone.”.  How can a decision or thought feel or smell?

The reality is that these are not just colloquialisms – they describe our non-analytical judgement. They describe our instinct or intuition.

The Neuroscience opportunity
The study of neuroscience is bringing our understanding of the brain on leaps and bounds.  Much of this new understanding is relatively recent but is helping to explain how our analytical & intuitive thinking processes work.  Yet management & leadership awareness appears to be relatively low and training & development programmes have not yet caught up.

If intuition is such a part of how we function then isn’t it something managers & leaders should take time to understand?

There is a huge business & social opportunity here for those who have the interest in looking at what is coming out of neuroscience.  Personally, I see furthering my understanding as part of my professional development and even adding to my professional practice.

However, I’m not a neuroscientist so I won’t try to be one.  If you are interested in the subject of Neuroscience or specifically intuition then I recommend reading thisand this by Matthew Lieberman.  You might also find the NeuroLeadership Institute bloginteresting.

If these are too “hefty” or you’d just like to learn in a more experiential environment then drop me a line and I’ll happily put you in touch with Neuroscientists that I’ve been working with.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on intuition and the opportunity Neuroscience can provide business leaders.


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