Trusting your gut is bad business. It can be a huge mistake. “Trust your gut” is an old and accepted saying. It’s one of those adages that many accept without question. Several times in the last week, I’ve noticed tweets, Facebook posts, and blogs that refer to it as some fundamental tenet of running a business. It’s not, but why is it so readily accepted?

Intuition Can Be Helpful 

It may be because, in many instances trusting your intuition is helpful. When thrust into new emotionally charged situations, your gut relies on past experiences to help you avoid problems and recognize opportunities.

“As you go about your day, your brain collects and processes sensory data from your environment. You’re perfectly aware of some of this information. For example, if you notice two people shouting and pushing each other outside a store just ahead, you’ll probably cross the street. But you wouldn’t say your gut told you to move since you made a reasoned decision based on available information.” — — Gut Feelings Are Real, but Should You Really ‘Trust Your Gut’?

Trusting your gut when you meet someone new or walking an unfamiliar street could help you avoid a problem or recognize an opportunity, but those are life situations, not business. In business, it’s best to rely on facts, objective criteria, and observable behavior. To do so requires education, research, and analysis, not just listening to your gut.

Trusting Your Gut Is Bad Business 

In business, your gut may lead you in a particular direction, and often it’s worth listening to, but that doesn’t mean you jump into action based solely on your intuition. You might listen to your gut but don’t trust it. Investigate it.

“The trust in intuition is understandable, but it’s also dangerous. Intuition has its place in decision-making – you shouldn’t ignore your instincts any more than you should ignore your conscience, but detached from rigorous analysis, intuition is a fickle and undependable guide. It is as likely to lead to disaster as to success.” — Harvard Business Review 

What About an Emergency? 

“Many professionals (e.g., nurses, firefighters, military personnel) who must make quick decisions under complex and difficult circumstances will do so without obvious deliberation (Dhaliwal, 2011). Their intuition comes from their experience of similar situations. In such emergencies, intuition may have to take precedence.

However, this is not to imply that anyone (professional or not) should rely on experience alone and not remain current by seeking further information and education derived from credible sources using analytic reasoning.” — Psychology Today Paying Attention to Your Gut Feelings

Trusting your gut without exploring the consequences is bad business. So, don’t jump to some new initiative in your company without proper research. Don’t run your business by the seat of your pants or your gut.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Businesses and universities use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.

Image by Julien Tromeur from Pixabay