Monday, November 13th, 2017

Intuition AND Analytics Have to Dance Together

I’m fascinated by how all systems reflect one another. That’s why in organizational change one can start almost anywhere to make a shift if it is strong enough, exaggerated enough, lasts long enough. And other parts of the system (company) will begin to copy and adapt in order to head for cohesion. That’s why too many projects or initiatives create confusion. There is no one thing dominant or aberrant to create new. Good decisions matter to cull from the chaos.

Today we see the battle for being right between extremes everywhere. Foodies vs junk foodies, science vs religion, atheists vs fundamentalists of all religions, 1% vs 99 %. The Executive Committee I was part of had a running battle between art and science. Use the numbers vs use the gut.

In business,intuition is more in the fore right now. There are all kinds of studies saying the CEO’s use of intuition has had impact on results. To me it usually sounds more like instinct or deep expertience that is being used. True intuition is a knowing that comes from nowhere and carries with it a kind of ‘rightness’ a solution.

And coming up against intuition is analytics. What a relief. Concrete answers! Actionable and measurable and immediate. Algorithms galore. Now we can be sure footed. Let’s go go go go go until the action proves wrong. How can this be? We had data!

It’s easy to understand why decisons are so tough. Constant mega changes in the ¬†world, random catastrophe, technological sea changes, acceleration of speed of change and constant Tsunami of information. So we hang on tight to the life boat of analytics or give up and float free following our gut.

We just can’t give up the darn ‘either/or’ mentality. In every aspect of our global and local societies we need more middle. The middle is where we juggle opposing ideas until an elegant solution emerges. The middle is where we can feel stuck and frustrated. The middle is more often right than any extreme. The middle takes longer for better decisions. The middle doesn’t bet the barn, it creates a pilot. The middle is prudent and doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

There is a tendency for CEO’s to have to appear that they know what they are doing is right. Wall Street likes it and so does the Board and stock holders. And in this age of anxiety and with the projection of hope onto a leader, this is understandable. But here is the blind spot leaders–you don’t know answers and you want them. One way or the other. No no no no. One way AND the other. Combine your intution with analytics and in the muddle/middle of those decision making modes, use your courage and experience and expertise to decide. There is no getting away from the moment of a big decision that rests on your shoulders. Add a big touch of heart as well.





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