We Need More Intuition in Business

LLearning in this Era of Disruption

Business keeps score with hard facts because its survival is hard cash.  Decisions, feedback, brainstorming, employee development operate under this paradigm of “facts are King”.  Meanwhile, businesses are stepping up to the idea of being agents of social change.  Because we spend most of our time at work, we are ever-increasingly aware of the effects business has in our families and in our communities.  But, how business is done has to change if it’s going to be a source for innovation and social change.  We expect fast fact-based answers from each other as quickly as we do when searching for something on the internet.  Quick answers are expected.  Therefore, we must bring intuition into our board rooms, employee cubicles and team break rooms.


Intuition is a key part of what makes us human.  To be cut off from it creates isolation, fear, depression.  To live void of that inner intuitive voice encourages us to label and judge others. Without intuition, and the demands for quick fact-based answers from our cell phones, creates in us an over-reliance on others, technology and governments to direct our lives.    Intuition is what guides us, connects us to ourselves, builds meaningful relationships and creates new possibilities.  Facts tell us where we’ve been and where we are. Intuition is an expanded awareness to hunches, ideas and possibilities that don’t show up on spread sheets.  When we trust our intuition we trust ourselves, open doors to others and build connections.  Intuition is our path to transformation.


Consider the following:

  • McKinsey study shows that those who use intuition in business are 5X more effective.
  • Challenger 1986, Columbia 2003 report said of the two disasters “… engineers’ intuition, hunches and concerns were disregarded by top management because of the absence of hard data”.
  • Richard Florida, in The Flight of the Creative Class, says our over-reliance on data is dampening creativity, and that a nation that is not creative is not competitive.
  • At a time when snap judgement is all the rage intuition is a competitive advantage.
  • Daniel Pink, in A Whole New Mind, observes a trend toward a more creative mindset. “We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computer-like capabilities of the information age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capability of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age.”
  • Lack of intuition means you miss out on nuance; you don’t see everything.
  • Analytics narrow our viewpoint and should be balanced with intuition.
  • Intuition opens us up to trust.
  • What goes on at work is a microcosm of what goes on between nations.


Businesses without intuition

  • Narrow and limited focus.
  • Encourages fear of the unknown approach for person. Evidence the current divisions in the world.
  • We become addicted to certainty and facts and bypass “discovery” seeking to understand.
  • To bypass intuition alienates people from themselves.
  • The mode of operation is to control, conquer people and the outside environment.  Control the outside world to gain inside safety.


Businesses with intuition

  • Expanded with greater awareness of inner and collective wisdom.
  • Trusting one’s intuition leads to trusting oneself which leads to trusting others.
  • We seek to understand.  Connections are born producing relationships and innovation.
  • To seek out one’s intuition connects them back to themselves and thus others.
  • Trust inner world to connect with outer world.

If we don’t’ bring more intuition into business we will see collective depression, helplessness and frustration, soothed only by our phones bleeping “like” notices and filling our void with acquiring stuff; or as Jacob Needleman explains “materialism is a disease of the mind starved for new ideas”.


How to get business to use intuition?

  1. Discover: Identify when to use intuition in business;
  2. Prepare: Create a process for accessing intuition;
  3. Lead: Blending intuition with other traditional decision-making methods

If we bring intuition into business, we leverage inner and collective wisdom, create sustained states of flow and interpersonal, meaningful connections. In such a world, technology aids us in tackling the world’s greatest opportunities and challenges.