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  • Writer's pictureGrant 'Axe' Rawlinson

When should we NOT use our intuition during decision making.

Your intuition is a very powerful tool for decision making. It certainly can save a great deal of time and used correctly will help you and your teams make effective decisions even when under incredible pressure and faced with critical deadlines. But people who make decisions purely off a 'gut feel' often get a bad wrap. Surely we should only make decisions using a rational decision making process? Well - not necessarily. You make hundreds or even thousands of great decisions ever day using instinct. You probably are not even aware of most of them e.g. When to avoid someone who is angry, when not to cross the road and when is the right time to discuss 'pricing' during that business meeting?

So when should we be wary of using our intuition?  When we are dealing with situations which we have not experienced before. In Daniel Kahneman's excellent book "Thinking Fast and Slow", he talks of intuition not of being a magic gift - but purely recognition.  Recognition of previous experiences with similarities to your current issue which your brain subconsciously searches for and uses to to make a decision on how to react to a current problem.

Issues with using intuition arise when we are faced with scenario's we have no experience of. In this case our brain still searches, but when it finds nothing relevant it does not give up but instead answers a simpler problem. It uses the closest and easiest 'similar' experience it can find and based on that decides a course of action.  Which in many cases may have no relevance to your current situation and can and does result in terrible decisions.

So don't ignore your intuition - but get to know it better. Understand when you can use it with confidence and when you should be thinking more rationally.

Read this book if you want to learn more about how your brain works when making decisions.

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