Trust Your Intuition: How Kjell Nordstrom's Dad Finds Fish
This week's blog is a highlight from a full essay: 'It's Time to Trust Your Intuition Again' by the Hub's founder Phil Dourado.
Here's a story Kjell Nordstrom told me:
“My father’s a fisherman. He has been all his life. Occasionally he takes me out fishing in his boat. After a while, I’ll say ‘This looks like a good spot. Let’s stop here and fish.’ My father will just smile and say ‘Not today. Today the fish are over there,’ and point a mile or two to the west. And he is nearly always right. I have given up asking how he knows. He looks at the sky. He feels the wind. He watches the waves and sees the currents. He just knows where the fish are.”
There’s a great distrust of instinct and intuition in business leadership today.
Professor Bob Sutton of Stanford University says, as part of the promotion of facts over intuition, “Organizations that rely on facts rather than intuition can outperform the competition.” (1).
Now I have a lot of time for the thinking of Bob Sutton, but the problem with this particular thinking is that intuition and facts are not mutually exclusive. Often intuition draws not on hopes, fears and prejudice, but on the kind of deep knowledge that is difficult or impossible to articulate and evidence in a report because it is implicit.
Intuition grows from ploughed-in knowledge.
SOURCES AND FURTHER READING
Robert Sutton and Jeffrey Pfeffer. Partly-inspired by the growth in recent years of the Evidence-Based Medicine movement in healthcare, Sutton and Pfeffer argue that the approach should be carried over into how organizations are run. Up to a point, gentlemen. Yes, we have a fact-based process for making decisions, with ‘decision rules’ built in. But, if you don’t combine that with your gut instinct, you won’t make smart decisions.
Phil Dourado is The Leadership Hub founder. He's the author of two leadership books. Phil and his team run an online leadership community of practice for one of the world's largest companies.