Cultivating Sound IntuitionIn the Fall issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review, Kurt Matzler (professor of international management at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria), Franz Bailom (a consultant based in Innsbruck), and Todd A. Mooradian (associate professor of marketing at William and Mary's Mason School of Business) summarize what we know about developing reliable intuitive decision-making in business.
The key point is that intuition is not some kind of ESP. Rather it
is really one's ability to recognize patterns at lightning speed a process that often happens unconsciously. This is an especially important trait for complex decisions. ... Complex decisions ... bring into play a process in which knowledge, experience and emotions are linked, and this process is what people commonly think of when they hear the word "intuition."Matzler, Bailom, and Mooradian point to six requirements that enable someone to exercise reliable intuition:
- Experience produces the "facts, patterns, concepts, procedures and abstractions" that one draws on when making an intuitive decision in a complex situation.
- Networks allow one to share experiences and get constructive feedback on decisions.
- Emotional intelligence the ability to recognize and "read" one's emotional reactions.
- Tolerance of mistakes since well-rounded learning includes learning from mistakes.
- Curiosity the basis for discovering new opportunities.
- Limits rather than depending exclusively on intuition, effective managers "reflect on their intuitive decisions before they execute them."