Executives should trust their gut instincts—but only when four tests are met.
One of the most important questions facing leaders is when they should trust their gut instincts—an issue explored in a dialogue between Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and psychologist Gary Klein titled “Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?” published by McKinsey Quarterly in March 2010. Our work on flawed decisions suggests that leaders cannot prevent gut instinct from influencing their judgments. What they can do is identify situations where it is likely to be biased and then strengthen the decision process to reduce the resulting risk.
Our gut intuition accesses our accumulated experiences in a synthesized way, so that we can form judgments and take action without any logical, conscious consideration. Think about how we react when we inadvertently drive across the center line in a road…
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