Intuitive Management - Not Just Wild Guessing But A Rational Thought Process

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1823 , Published on 11 September 2012
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‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.’- Albert Einstein

Haven’t there been countless times when we wished we had followed our mind and not our brain? Haven’t there been times when we wished we had gone by our guess rather than by trying to dig into complex formulas and data structures? Managers all around the world too at some point of time in their careers have felt the same. Intuitive vs. analytic has always been a subject that rather confused rather than cleared doubts.

Intuitive management is something more of an art than a science. There are no complex equations or tables and graphs with hidden data and results in it. It is a bundle of knowledge gained through careful observations, years of experience and ability to feel the pulse of the situation that helps in arriving at the final decision.


Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is a reasoning or decision arising from one’s instinctive feelings rather than conscious thought and analysis. But an intelligent intuition is not one completely devoid of any logic. Intuitive decision making involves perceiving and being aware of the environment around, its volatility and minute changes. It involves sensing of information even before it can be read out from charts. It is absolutely wrong to think that intuitive analysis is equivalent to wild guessing.

It is not something that is taught in MBA textbooks, though creativity and intuitive decision making are being tried to be cultivated in MBA grads.Though we make intuitive decisions all the time in our life, right from choosing our life partner, to buying the next book to read, intuitive decision making is not much followed in the corporate world.

A classic example of where the logic of intuition management was lost was when Coco-Cola launched the New Coke after intense focus groups studies, data analysis and blind tests. But what it is missed was the cognitive factor that the people loved the brand more than the drink.The link between coke and its customers was more emotional than rational.

Intuitive management does play a strong part in marketing and strategy decisions. It takes a long time to build good intuition. It demands our ears to be kept close to the ground to catch even the slightest of the vibrations or jerks in the environment, be it in the marketplace, amongst the consumers or within the organization.

Steve Jobs, one of the most successful entrepreneurs till date, was considered intuitive in his style. His insights came more out of intuition rather than mere mental processing power. Studies show that innovators bank only on 23% of the evidence to make a decision. Their intuitions are designed by the emotional bonding they share with the customers, the market and the years of experience of being in that particular field of business.

Intuition can also help in some unique situations where information is not available or is incomplete. It will also help in a ‘first-of-this-type’ circumstance which has no precedent or data. In emergency circumstances too when lengthy analysis of excel sheets or power point presentations may not be possible, it is the intuitive decision making ability combined with years of experience working hands-on that will help. Many of the operators on the shop floor and the plant solve most of the problems intuitively.

While the importance of data crunching cannot be undermined and is of at most significance, completely shutting off the intuitive side of the brain would be a mistake too. Intuition helps you see the situation as a whole and though in your subconscious mind your formulate the problem and rationalize it, many processes in the logical sequence of problem solving are skipped and you arrive at the solution faster.

For the intuitive mind to function properly, it is essential that you are in a healthy state of mind and have followed many rational procedures in your mind or jotted down your thoughts on paper. Intuitive judgement coupled with analytical reasoning would help solve problems faster, more easily and in a better manner.

Intuitive management is not just for the marketing managers or HR managers or strategists but can be practiced by everyone, including the common man. The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu remarked, ‘The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days’. The key to success lies in striking the right balance between logic and intuition, the left brain and the right brain.

This article has been authored by Gitanjali Maria from Loyola Institute of Business Administration.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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