Successful leaders have to grapple with this dilemma often. They believe their intuition is telling them what the true answer is. Or, they want to trust the numbers. However, intuition can be wrong and 100 percent reliance on data can send you down the wrong path too. Developing a strong business balance between statistics and your sixth sense takes experience, time, and practice. As business owners and executives know, making the wrong decisions can cost the company more than money. It can also cost their reputation, clients, and top talent.
What do you do when you don’t trust the data? Trust the process. For example: When you hire a person based upon your gut reaction, even when the facts disagree, you didn’t trust your selection system. The truth is, failure to pay attention to good objective information will negatively impact your decisions.
Better questions to ask yourself: Do you know how to correctly use qualified hiring tools and follow a strategic selection process? (BizSavvyHire.com) Do you have an unconscious habit of hiring and firing until you find the right person? (Hint: Honestly look at your turnover numbers.) Asking these types of questions can help you determine the underlying (aka real) reason you may not trust the data.
Which one do you trust when your data or intuition is contrary to others’ opinions? Trust yourself and be open to being right and wrong. For example, many times when a company is experiencing difficulty achieving results, it’s because a controlling leader or dominating team member made erroneous judgments based heavily on facts or feelings. Learn to ask good business questions and listen to people’s responses. Being open to changing your mind doesn’t mean you have to. However, being adamant that you are right is usually a sign of impending disaster.
Strong leaders trust themselves and know how to develop win-win outcomes by working with and through others. They are prepared for the downside of any decision. They use their results as dashboards to develop trust in themselves and others when making balanced factual and intuitive decisions.
©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013