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Intuition_At_Work

Intuition_At_Work

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03/18/2014

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INTUITION AT WORK
SUMMARIES.COM is a concentrated business information service. Every week, subscribers are e-mailed a

concise summary of a different business book. Each summary is about 8 pages long and contains the stripped-down essential ideas from the entire book in a time-saving format. By investing less than one hour per week in these summaries, subscribers gain a working knowledge of the top business titles. Subscriptions are available on a monthly or yearly basis. Further information is available at www.summaries.com.

Why Developing Your
Gut Instincts Will Make You
Better At What You Do
GARY KLEIN
GARY KLEINis the founder and chairman of his own consulting firm, Klein Associates. He specializes in

studying how people use experience to make better decisions when under conditions of sometimes conflicting goals or intense time pressure. Dr. Klein has studied how firefighters, soldiers and businesses use intuition. He is also the author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions.

Intuition At Work - Page 1
MAIN IDEA

The paradox of the business world is that intuition tends to get downplayed as a basis for making g ood decisions. Yet, studies have shown about 90% of the critical decisions a person actually makes will generally be based more on their \u201cgut feelings\u201d about the right thing to do than hard data. In other words, most people downlplay the importance of intuition at the same time as they use it more and more. With that in mind, a smarter idea might be to acknowledge the importance of intuition and become better at using it.

So what exactly is intuition? A good working definition is: \u201cIntuition is the way we translate our past experiences into decisions about
our present actions.\u201d That means the more experience you have in your own line of business, the more confident you\u2019ll feel about

making decisions on the strength of your hunches and feelings rather than requiring extensive analysis of the options available. This is why firefighters and military personnel are able to make life-and-death decisions rapidly. They pick up on the clues of what is happening and know intuitively how they should react without requiring detailed analysis.

To summarize:
n
Intuition is not magical \u2013 it does not require extrasensory perception (ESP) or getting in touch with \u201cthe Force\u201d.
n
Intuition is not a gift \u2013 that you are either born with or not.
n
Intuition can be enhanced \u2013 by learning how to use the right tools and by becoming more experienced.
n
Intuition is a natural extension of experience \u2013 rather than something that requires psychic sensitivities.
n
Intuition can and should work hand-in-hand with analysis \u2013 to develop better real world decisions than either intuition or
analysis would produce if they were working alone.
n
The tools of intuition can be acquired by anyone \u2013 through effort, practice and a conscious effort.
n
The more you succeed in building your business intuitions, the more reliable this becomes as a meth od for making sound
decisions in the future.

\u201cI prefer a \u2018muscular\u2019 view of intuition that treats our intuition as skills that can be acquired, as strengths that can be expanded through exercise. The more you exercise \u2013 the more repetitions or \u2018reps\u2019 to borrow a term from the gym \u2013 the stronger you get. The same applies to intuition. Intuitive decision making improves as we acquire more patterns, larger repertories of action scripts, and richer mental models. Remember: \u2018Intuition is the way we translate our experience into action\u2019. This approach forms my rationale. Regardless of its limitations, we depend on intuition. Therefore, it is critical that we grow it into a reliable instrument. As with physical exercise, you will get some results if you simply take the time to exert yourself, to do the \u2018reps\u2019, but you will get better results if you use proper technique and if you have a smart training program with progressive goals \u2013 and especially if you get guidance and feedback on those techniques and goals. Think of it as a fitness program to develop your intuition.\u201d

\u2013 Gary Klein
1. How to build your business intuition.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pages 2 - 4
To build your level of business intuition, you can choose from two generic options:
1. Passively wait until you have acquired enough experience that it begins to influence your decisions.

2. Be proactive in building the skill sets of intuitive decision making by:
\u2022 Understanding what intuition is.
\u2022 Learning the methods and disciplines of decision making.
\u2022 Learning how to blend intuition with analysis.

2. How to better apply your intuition.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pages 5 - 6

To learn how to apply intuition more effectively in the workplace:
1. Make some tough choices \u2013 it will force you to enhance your intuitive capacities.
2. Spot emerging problems \u2013 before they get out of hand and before they become more serious.
3. Become better at managing uncertainty \u2013 and develop your intuitions about the optimum approach.
4. Learn how to size up situations \u2013 so your intuition can pick up clues and patterns on which to act.
5. Get creative \u2013 capture the flashes of inspiration which your intuition will generate.
6. Become better at improvising and adapting \u2013 so you can make adjustments on the fly.

3. How to overcome obstacles in applying intuition.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pages 7 - 8

To safeguard your intuitive thinking skills against all potential obstacles and impediments:
1. Become better at communicating your intuitions \u2013 so you can present your ideas effectively.
2. Coach and mentor others \u2013 so there will be a better understanding of intuition throughout your firm.
3. Make good use of quantitative data \u2013 as the metric of the success of your ideas.
4. Use information technology intelligently \u2013 rather than letting it filter out intuitive thinking.
5. Commit to being an intuitive decision maker.

1.
How to build your business intuition
To build your level of business intuition, you can choose from two
generic options:
1. Passively wait until you have acquired enough experience
that it begins to influence your decisions.
2. Be proactive in building the skill sets of intuitive decision
making by:

\u2022 Understanding what intuition is.
\u2022 Learning the methods and disciplines of decision making.
\u2022 Learning how to blend intuition with analysis.

Consider how you would answer these questions:
n
Where do your business hunches come from?
n
What is it that sometimes sets off mental alarm bells inside
your head when you see something?
n
What is the process by which you have been taught to make
good decisions?
Most people have been taught the best way to make a good

decision in business is:
1. Analyze your problem thoroughly.
2. List all your different options.

3. Evaluate those options on a consistent criteria.
4. Identify which option offers the most benefits.

That sounds nice in theory because it is logical and methodical rather than leaving the outcome to chance. The only problem is this approach doesn\u2019t work all that well in the real world. More often than not, decisions have to be made in challenging situations where:

\u2022 Confusing and complex factors need to be taken into account. \u2022 There are limitations on the amount of information available. \u2022 You have severe resource constraints.

\u2022 Little snippets of inconclusive facts abound.
\u2022 There are severe consequences in making the wrong decision.

In other words, in most situations, people don\u2019t follow the classical, scientific model of decision-making. Instead, there will often be one approach which is favored above all others, and the facts which supported that preferred approach will be emphasized while conflicting facts will be swept under the carpet. Or the evaluation criteria will be tweaked until there is only one decision which can be reached.

Since intuition already influences our decisions more than we may acknowledge or even realize, it is worthy of closer inspection. The five key elements of a good working model of business intuition are:

1. A new situation that arises generates a set of cues which are
usually grouped together.

2. That group of clues will form a pattern. An experienced manager will look at a set of clues and notice whether or not it matches any pattern which has been seen in the past.

3. Based on the pattern that has been used in previous situations, an experienced person will than have in mind a specific plan of action. They will anticipate what will happen next and the most effective course to follow. Action scripts are the typical ways a person with experience will respond. The more experience a person has with any specific pattern, the more obvious the best course of action will be, and the easier it becomes to make a good decision.

4. Mental stimulation means to consciously imagine what will happen when an action script gets implemented. An experienced person will know what to expect as specific actions are taken, and will watch for the clues this is, in fact, happening.

5. In order to build an effective mental stimulation, mental models of how things work are needed. Experienced people know how things work from their own hands-on examples. Managers help their subordinates build better mental models to increase their effectiveness in the future.

In most situations, all of these elements are worked through so rapidly it appears intuitive decisions are being made instantaneously, but this is not the case. All of the key elements are being worked through in rapid succession.

The advantages of intuitive decisions in business are:
n
Situations can be sized up quickly \u2013 instead of requiring a
long, laborious effort to analyze it.
n
Problems and anomalies can be noticed early \u2013 before they
become a more serious problem.
n
There will be confidence \u2013 the first option which comes to
mind is a good one.
n
There will be an anticipation of what will happen next \u2013 so
adequate preparations can be made beforehand.
n
You avoid getting overloaded with data \u2013 keeping things
simple and manageable.
n
You will be able to remain calm and composed \u2013 even when
required to act in the face of pressure and uncertainty.
n
Alternatives can be found \u2013 when a plan runs into any sort of
difficulty or barriers.
n
You will recognize similar patterns in the future \u2013 allowing you
to become better over time at performing those tasks which lie
at the center of your career.

Obviously, the key to obtaining these benefits is to develop enough real-life experience in your particular field so you develop expertise. The broader your experience base, the more intuition you will have. This, however, is too important an asset to have to leave to chance. What is required is a training program by which intuition can be acquired and enhanced through a series of meaningful experiences. Or, put differently, since intuition is vitally important, it makes good sense to go through a planned set of exercises which will provide \u201cdeliberate experiences\u201d which will build into intuition. That way, you are approaching intuitive decision making in a constructive and deliberate manner rather than hoping random events will come together to provide us with much needed experience.

Intuition At Work - Page 2
Situation
Cues
Patterns
Mental models
Mental simulationAction scripts

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