Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #28
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Spring’s warm sun, cold wind and rain
When the mind is in doubt it is driven this way and that by a slight impulse.
Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data.
– John Naisbitt
We have no reason to expect the quality of intuition to improve with the importance of the problem. Perhaps the contrary: high-stake problems are likely to involve powerful emotions and strong impulses to action. – Daniel Kahneman
There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance. – Albert Einstein
Impulses are fundamental to how we live and work, yet we rarely consider how they help us, and how they can send us off course.
Impulse operates unconsciously and without reflective thought, providing us with a sudden strong urge or desire to act. Impulses keep us safe, for example when ducking our heads to miss a swinging branch.
Terence reminds us when in doubt our impulses drive. Looking at the image on the left, what’s your impulse for which way to go?
When we’re moving quickly, driving a car or in a rush to meet a deadline, we’re prone to operate on impulse alone. The problem is, when driven by impulse we override other people and overlook important information.
Today it is easy to be overwhelmed with data, making it ever more important to access our intuition when facing important decisions. The challenge Daniel Kahneman describes is, when faced with high-stakes problems we often think we’re using "Intuition" not realizing our "Emotional Impulses" have taken over.
Impulses compel us to act with what we already know, rather than considering creative new opportunities. New discoveries provide the seeds for innovation and growth in organizations. Yet so often conversations and exploration are cut off too soon, in order to be productive we stay on the "road we know”. We may think we’re reducing risk, while really increasing risk.
No wonder organizations driven by quarterly earnings or annual budget cycles, often lose their way and are replaced by those with greater flexibility to create. Doing what we know reinforces the status quo. To achieve breakthroughs and transformations we need to access the intuition and collective genius of teams.
Intuition gives us insight from our instinctive feelings and the processing of our unconscious mind without conscious reasoning. As Einstein describes “there is no logical way to discovery … there is only the way of intuition”. By following our intuition, “helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance” we reach new discoveries.
In Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant states, “Originality itself starts with creativity: generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But it doesn’t stop there. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.”
Developing our intuition facilitates new discoveries and builds conviction to act on them. It requires being open and curious, listening for insights from other people, using systems thinking to explore underlying order, and allowing time for own insights to emerge.
Grant writes, “we think of procrastination as a curse. … But while procrastination is a vice for productivity, I’ve learned – against my natural inclinations – that it’s a virtue for creativity.” He continues “When you procrastinate, you’re more likely to let your mind wander. That gives you a better chance of stumbling onto the unusual and spotting unexpected patterns.”
Consider when has using Intuition over Impulse helped you creatively lead?
I assist executives and professionals to creatively lead. Together we build trust, and cultivate leadership and organizational effectiveness to create a better future today. To learn more visit here.
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