Let´s talk a little more about intuition in the workplace. Yesterday I introduced the notion that a gut feeling-a hunch-does, indeed, has usefulness within a company. Making the right decision at work is a critical skill, one that can make the difference between a success and a failure, one that may mean nailing a contract (or not), and one that can actually help an employee move up (or across) an organizational chart.
What exactly do you mean when you tell an employee to trust her gut? And does she necessarily understand what you mean anyway? Trusting your gut generally means that you´re choosing something without a lot of conscious deliberation, as the researchers of a recently published study suggest. And believe it or not, this practice actually has a name: "The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect." You knew it had to have a label, right? Anyway, here´s what the researchers said:
On the basis of recent insights into the characteristics of conscious and unconscious thought, we tested the hypothesis that simple choices (such as between different towels or different sets of oven mitts) indeed produce better results after conscious thought, but that choices in complex matters (such as between different houses or different cars) should be left to unconscious thought.
So how can we apply these findings to the workplace? Lynn Robinson, a leading expert on intuition, offers some interesting insights. First, she´s a true believer in the idea of literally sleeping on a big decision. Think about it-have you ever gone to sleep at night, worried about a situation, wondering how to act and then you wake up and know the answer. There´s lots of research out there that says we do some major work in our restful hours (hmm, doesn´t sound too restful, does it?), so it makes sense that we come to some solid conclusions once we open our eyes the next morning.
I like to think of intuition as a gift, something we all have, something we unwrap when necessary. Just because we learn something viscerally-without any hard data before us-doesn´t mean for a second that we should dismiss its value. Whether you act on your hunch or ignore it altogether, that voice inside (your mind, your heart and/or your gut) often wields more influence than even the most persuasive and proven data.
I´ll bring you more about Lynn Robinson´s work in the months ahead. As I mentioned yesterday, she has a new book coming out next fall titled Trust Your Gut: Using the Power of Intuition to Grow Your Business. In the meantime, she´s graciously offered her "Gut Trusters Checklist" to help you incorporate the value of intuition into the workplace. And I have this feeling that maybe-and this is just a hunch-you´d like her Web site: http://www.LynnRobinson.com. There you can sign up for her free monthly "Intuition Newsletter."
Gut Trusters Checklist
You´ve got a big decision to make. Here´s a check list of the top 12 ideas to use that will allow you to quickly access your intuitive insights.
1. State your desired outcome. It can be as general as "motivate my sales team" or as specific as "I want to partner with the Smith Company."
2. If you have time, immerse yourself in information about your subject.
3. Use your logical mind to analyze the options available to you and then give it over to your intuition to make the best choice.
4. Ask your intuition a question: "What should I do about"?¦?" "How can I"?¦?" "What do I need to know about"?¦?" These are all good examples of ways to phrase a question to evoke intuitive information.
5. Take a break. Get away from your desk and preferably out of the office for at least five minutes.
6. Quiet your mind with a breathing exercise or a simple meditation. Clear your mind of distractions. Listen for the answers.
7. Make a hypothetical choice. Does it feel right in your gut? Do you feel energized by the decision? Can you see the successful completion of this plan of action. If the answer is "yes" to all, you´re on the right track. If not, choose again.
8. Close your eyes and ask for an image or symbolic picture that represents the answer.
9. Take out your notebook or laptop and brainstorm a number of possible options. At the end of ten minutes, go through your list. Which of the choices feel best to you?
10. Let go of the "what ifs." It´s possible to endlessly obsess over possible consequences of your decisions until it clouds intuitive vision.
11. What do you know for sure? What pops into your mind when you ask that question?
12. Go with what you know. Take a bold step and then another! Keep tuning into your intuition and asking questions each step along the way.
My prediction? You´re going to continue on the path to success by trusting your gut and growing your business!
Courtesy of Lynn Robinson, M.Ed.