How Creative Insights Differ from Intuitions & Why It Matters

Creative-InsightsWhat’s the difference between intuitive thinking and creative insights? Both can lead to breakthrough ideas. But there’s a difference.

In my previous posts about intuitive thinking, I described how intuition uses our experience to guide us to recognize patterns and apply them in new ways to solve other problems. Understanding this helps take the mystery out of intuition so that we can use it to complement analytic thinking processes and solve problems better, often more quickly.

As a leader in any kind of organization, we face complexity in daily decisions. Learning how to avoid decision errors is a priority. We are burdened by a tremendous amount of data, which can be useful when appropriately analyzed, or in some cases, overwhelming and misleading. Clearly, we need all of our mental abilities, including those of intuition and insights.

I’m reading books by Gary Klein, PhD., a research psychologist who studies decision-making, intuitive thinking, and creative insights. He explains in Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights: Read More »

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Want Great Performance?
Have More Creative Insights

Creative-InsightsHow can leaders improve their ability to have creative insights and breakthrough ideas that drive performance improvements?

In 2001, Peter Drucker wrote in The Economist that “businesspeople stand on the threshold of the knowledge society. In this society, a company’s competitive advantage will come from an historically underdeveloped asset: the ability to capture and apply insights from diverse fields.”

There’s tremendous pressure on leaders in organizations to improve performance, not only productivity but quality services and innovations as well. To improve performance we need to continually reduce errors and increase insights. It’s like this diagram: Read More »

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Creative Insight: Shifting for the Future

Creative-InsightCreative insight could save your career. I’ve been writing about the value of developing intuitive thinking. Intuition along with analyses could lead to insights and breakthrough ideas that would revolutionize your business in the 21st Century.

Let me ask you a question: how is your business going to shift in the next few years? How are you going to respond to new technologies, customer trends and global challenges? There are no easy answers, we know that. But I challenge you with this question because if you’re not prepared, your business could become irrelevant in a flash. No product or service is immune. Read More »

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10 Tips for Improving Intuitive Thinking

Inutitive-ThinkingNone of us starts a career with the expertise we need. We learn as we go, we develop the intuitive thinking skills we need. Some of us broaden our skills better than others because we pay attention, notice what works and what doesn’t, and build a repertoire of experiences (both good and bad). So how can we improve our intuitive thinking abilities?

“Developing your intuitive sense is similar to learning any new skill—the more you practice, the more proficient you will become. Learn to trust your decision-making ability by paying close attention to what your intuition is telling you.” ~ Romanus Wolter, “Trusting your Gut Instincts,” Entrepreneur, November 2005

Research psychologist Gary Klein offers 10 critical tips for growing your intuitive abilities in his book, The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut to Make Better Decisions at Work (Crown Business, 2004). Read More »

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Intuitions: Understand Gut Feelings &
Know How to Check Yourself

Intuitive-thinkingSelf-checking and feedback are crucial for sound intuitive decisions, so some organizations have made these processes part of the culture in their executive suites. Intuitive thinkers admit their instincts are often plain wrong. They understand that human nature can cloud decision-making. For example:

  • We will often take unnecessary risks to recover a loss (the classic gambler’s syndrome).
  • We tend to see patterns where none exist—a phenomenon that statisticians call “over-fitting the data.”
  • We tend to be revisionists. We frequently remember when we didn’t trust our gut and should have, while conveniently forgetting when we were fortunate to have ignored our instincts.
  • We set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we hire or promote someone, for instance, we consciously or subconsciously expend extra effort to ensure the person’s success, obscuring whether our choice was actually a good one.

Read More »

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Pattern Recognition: What Goes On During Intuitive Thinking

Pattern-Recognition-IntuitionSo, how are your pattern recognition skills? They may be more important than you think, if you’re a leader charged with making quick yet accurate decisions.

I’ve been taking a peak behind the curtain at what goes on when we use intuitive thinking to arrive at best solutions. In the work I do with executives, I’ve noticed not everyone is good at using intuitive thinking skills. Some are good, but don’t trust it because they don’t understand it. They don’t understand intuition because it goes on behind the scenes, without our conscious awareness.

The problem is that now— more than ever— executives don’t have the luxury of lengthy analyses to make decisions. They need to make sense of incomplete data quickly — using intuition.

A key to harnessing intuition is to observe patterns. Patterns include routines for responding, known as “action scripts.” If we see a situation as typical, then we can intuit the typical action to take. We develop hunches about what’s really going on and how we should respond. Read More »

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What Exactly Is Intuition and How Can It Help Make Sound Decisions?

IntuitionWhile some enjoy promoting its seemingly magical qualities, intuition isn’t some mysterious gift or touchy-feely psychic ability. There’s science behind it, which means you can learn how to leverage your intuition for optimum results. We need to treat intuition as a strength that can be acquired and expanded by building—and making better use of—a rich experience base.

“The real challenge is not whether to trust intuition, but how to strengthen it to make it more trustworthy.” ~ Gary Klein, PhD, The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut to Make Better Decisions at Work (Crown Business, 2004)

Intuition improves as we learn to process and fully understand the situations we face. The more experiences we have, the stronger our intuition becomes. Repetition (practice) sets the stage for competency. Intuitive decision-making improves when we acquire more patterns, recognize how they play out and develop a larger repertoire of strategies.

You cannot improve intuition with experience alone. You must continually challenge yourself to make tough appraisals and learn from the consequences. Intuitive leaders rely on keen observation, pattern recognition and mental models.

Pattern Recognition

Repeated experiences are unconsciously linked to form patterns. A pattern is a set of connected cues. When you spot a few of the cues, you can expect to find others.

As we gain experience at work, we assemble a catalog of recognizable patterns. Over time, it becomes easier to match a situation with a previous pattern. Learning to detect patterns may prove challenging, but your practice will eventually pay off.

Pattern recognition explains how leaders can make effective decisions without conducting a deliberate analysis. They’ve learned which cues are relevant.

Truly inspired decisions require a more sophisticated mechanism: cross-indexing. The ability to see similar patterns in disparate fields elevates your intuitive skills.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your experiences. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn..

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The Power of Intuitive Thinking

Intuitive-ThinkingIn today’s fast-paced business environment, leaders must make complex decisions quickly, even when faced with uncertainty. Data and numbers rarely provide a complete picture. Making sound decisions in a chaotic climate requires us to strengthen our intuitive thinking. Refining our natural abilities of intuition leads to more accurate and innovative insights.

The instinctive genius that enables a CEO to craft the perfect strategy could require an uncanny ability to detect patterns that other people either overlook or mistake for Random noise.” ~Alden M. Hayashi, “When to Trust Your Gut,” Harvard Business Review, February 2001

Some business experts extol the powers of intuitive thinking. Others caution leaders to beware of faulty reasoning and inherent biases. Traditionally, experts will tell you that decisions should be based solely on a thorough analysis of data. But a new breed aims to achieve breakthroughs by harnessing the power of intuitive thinking. Read More »

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Good Apologies Restore Trust

Good-Apologies-Build-TrustBecause no workplace is perfect, most of us need to learn how to make good apologies. Managers berate subordinates in meetings. Colleagues make snide remarks about each other. Even worse, people send emails, texts, or tweets without thinking.

Making an apology is key, but it has to be done well or it can backfire and further injure relationships. In my previous posts here and here, I discussed some of the keys to making good apologies.

When you make a mistake or say the wrong thing, you diminish trust in the relationship you have. You need to repair that trust by reminding them of your shared history, your shared goals. You reassure the other party that you want to continue to share commonalities with them and work together again. Your apology should include your intention to not let them down again. Read More »

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How to Apologize at Work: Don’t Justify

Sorry-Apologize-at-WorkMistakes happen all the time. But when we screw up, it’s often hard to apologize at work effectively. It’s even worse when executives have to make public apologies for corporate mistakes.

There’s a great article about this by Ron Ashkenas on the Harvard Business Review site January, 2015, “When a Public Mistake Requires an Old-Fashioned Apology.”

In my previous post, I mentioned that most of us don’t craft an effective apology because we’re so concerned with explaining ourselves. We justify. Read More »

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