What is intuition?
When to trust your gut
Leaders have to be able to trust with their gut, but it’s useful to know how trustable your gut is in a given situation.
We want to trust our intuition. But what is it? Should we always trust it?
**Intuition is compressed experience.**
The corollary of this is that intuition is highly context-dependent and has limited transfer. Having a well-developed intuition for some part(s) of one’s role does not automatically transfer to other parts.
It’s important to be explicit about this because humans tend to globalize competence. When someone impresses in one dimension, we tend to overextend that credit to other areas. It’s a competence-based halo effect.
For example, if a leader has a well-developed intuition for what customers want based on many interviews and extensive customer contact, that does *not necessarily* mean that the leader has an equally developed intuition for e.g. team topology.
Here is a 5-second practice that contributes to a culture of intellectual honesty. When you’re about to go with your gut opinion, quickly check-in:
(1) How well-informed is my gut here?
(2) Has my pattern-matching system been exposed to many relevant samples?
It’s essential to go with your gut at times. Let’s just be honest about how well-trained our gut actually is in a given situation.