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4 min read

How to use intuition and data to make decisions

Intuition can be a guide in our decision-making process. It can help us make decisions that feel right and authentic to us, even when they don't follow the logical or sensible path. Sometimes our intuition can tell us to take a risk, say no to an opportunity or even to move in a completely different direction.

 

How to use intuition and data to make decisions

Listening to our intuition is a learning process, and it can take some time to learn to trust and distinguish between our inner voice and other factors such as data, analysis, fear and judgement.

In this process, data becomes a learning tool - not an irrefutable source of truth.

Fear of failure makes us favour data

In reality, many of us are afraid to use our intuition and listen to our gut feelings. Yes, I would even venture to say that we are afraid of not being able to justify our decisions to others if we are wrong, that we will appear inept, naive, or foolish.

Numbers, analysis, and evidence need to be included in the table. In reality, it's often about securing your position and justifying your decisions.

The problem is that in doing so, we miss out on all the available non-quantifiable knowledge. The numbers are only part of the picture.

And you're no less likely to be wrong if you exclude a large part of your experience base from the decision.

Intuition is your inner, personally earned compass

If I describe intuition - it's a unique ability that we all possess. It's our inner voice, our instincts, and our feelings that help us navigate through life professionally and personally. Defining intuition can be challenging, but it's often described as a sense of certainty or a sudden insight.

However, our intuition is an integral part of our personal development. By listening to our intuition, we can take responsibility for our lives and business by making decisions that align with our values and deepest desires.

In creating my leadership book Stardust on the Leadership Corridor—formulas for Future Leadership in SME companies, I have met many leaders, CEOs, directors, and owners who use their intuition or, as others call it, their gut feelings in their careers.

I've taken many beatings over the years, so I've learnt to go with my gut.
Erik Lomholt
Vice President, Global sourcing Jacob Holm & Sons

Erik Lomholt has worked with different cultures worldwide in his career, which is why he has developed his intuition and people skills as a leader.

Use data and intuition to make informed, intuitive decisions

Regarding decision-making, your intuition and experience can complement data-driven analyses.

This is especially relevant when there isn't enough data to make the right decision, or data is confusing or contradictory. In these cases, intuition and experience can help guide decisions based on past experiences, personal hunches, or emotions.

At the same time, a data-driven approach can help validate and reinforce intuition.

By using data to support or reject intuition, you can make more informed decisions or minimise the risk of misjudgement.

In other words, if you doubt a decision, obtain and collect more data to make the right one.

The same applies to making the right decision as a consultant.

Build a transparent data foundation to support your intuition

Transparency with data is the first step towards gaining the necessary insight and intuition to create results and a valid data foundation.

For example, the first step could be to start with time tracking to collect data.

Time tracking allows us to analyse our time, select and deselect tasks that create value, and specifically find the time wasters—to adjust our time consumption.

Time tracking and using intuition may seem like opposing approaches, as one focuses on being analytical and accurate, while the other is more emotional and subjective.

However, both approaches can be helpful at different times and situations.

When it comes to creativity and innovation - or thinking outside the box and challenging the hamster wheel of business, your intuition can generate new ideas and perspectives.

Meanwhile, timeframes and analysis can help you assess and validate these ideas and provide a more objective assessment of resources or potential.

When the numbers say otherwise

When you have an experience of knowing what's right and wrong, even if the numbers say otherwise, stick to that opinion.

Your intuition and sixth sense are talking to you. Make it easier to listen to your intuition by trusting it when it speaks to you.

During my many years of self-employment, there have been several times when I've convinced myself not to listen to my intuition, even though it's pretty sharp and usually proves to be worth listening to.

In those situations, I have gone in a direction where my intuition from the start said, "Don't go there", which has cost me blood, sweat, tears - and a lot of money.

The more I practice, the luckier I am when I also trust my intuition and values
Carsten Madsen
CEO, Morning Score
Are you ignoring your intuition, boss?

Whether the intuitive message comes to you regarding an employee, a customer, or something else entirely, it's important to pay attention to it and notice what happens when you ignore it.

Sometimes, we even repeatedly fail to hear it.

It doesn't have to be a warning or a sense that something is wrong. It can also be a positive idea that keeps popping up. If this idea insists on staying with you, it might be worth examining your mindset to find a more honest answer to why you're rejecting it.

Is it fear-based? Or is there another intuitive feeling present simultaneously that says it's not a good idea?

Here, it's all about being sensitive to which emotion or feeling for the idea is the most important - and which makes you the happiest to think about.

Decide to use your intuition to qualify data - and then practice!

Today, I lead and make decisions via my intuition and trust my intuition every time it comes to me, almost like a giant bell ringing in my ears.

My intuition arises in different contexts: in management, with business partners, in traffic, when carrying out a project when I have to say YES to a new customer, etc.

Using data personally also gives me a greater perspective on making the right decisions in different areas of my life.

What will the world look like for you when you need to use facts and data - privately or in your job - and you start using your intuition as a filter to make the right decisions?

The quick answer would be - to decide and do it.

Practice it - practice makes perfect, and your intuition will become stronger and sharper over time. And you'll find yourself making better decisions in all areas of your life.

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