Decision making

Combine logic and intuition
Combine logic and intuition

Logic or intuition?

According to Gerd Gigerenzer you should not think too long before making a decision, following your gut feelings is more economical. Is it enough to just make a quick assessment of the situation instead of collecting, clustering and evaluating information using the familiar comparison tables or logical lists of facts (put simply a plus-minus calculation) or any other methods for gathering information? 

Is it better to trust your gut feeling instead of evaluating thousands of pieces of information like a calculator (something we humans cannot do without making errors anyway)? 

I am convinced that decisions are often far too complex to make them purely on a logical basis. On the other hand a good decision often requires the “wisdom of the heart” and the “emotions” that this involves can lead us in the wrong direction. Intuition is something that has to be learned. If someone follows a “wrong” intuition that was in fact “emotion”, the consequences can be as equally unsatisfactory as if they had relied simply on the evaluation of information. Intuition is the voice that evaluates a highly complex mass of information quickly in the fraction of a second and passes on a result that often takes the form of a feeling, a word or a sentence indicating a clear yes or no. 

Intuition does not hesitate, it makes the best of everything the subconscious has absorbed and recorded, what has been consciously experienced and what the senses assimilate subliminally. 

There are, however, three aspects that must be taken into account, firstly: We must give the voice space so that we can pick it out from among all the other hubbub of voices. Secondly, it is often necessary to counter scepticism or even criticism with logic, at least until the time comes when you feel confident enough to say, “Trust me, I just know, buy the house”. Thirdly, all good decisions, however intuitively they have made, must be implemented. What is the use of the intuition that tells you to dismiss an employee, to end a relationship or to spin off a corporate division, if you do not face up to its implementation and its consequences? In hindsight people say, “Actually I knew that, but I couldn’t put it into practice.” 

Funnily enough this is the point when logic can help, the list, the facts that speak in favour of the diet, the milestones to the targets, the cutbacks in the budget, the list of ideas pinned to the cupboard or the logical facts that you can see. It gets even more fascinating when you consider that people often decide contrary to their intuition and that they might even suffer for this or that they ignore important facts because they say that their intuition is telling them differently. 

The crux of the matter is not finding a way to make the decision, but putting it into practice once you have. And to be aware of the kind of data that one has been fed. The intuition and its resulting decision “My boss does not like me, so I will not put the motion forward at the meeting,” might be correct in theory, but if your subconscious had been fed with fears, it is vital here to incorporate the facts objectively, logically and strategically. 

I believe that an intuition is an acceleration of logical thought processes and facts. That is why if you take the time (which you seldom have) and examine it carefully an intuition will bring all logical thoughts to light. Perhaps it could be seen as a translating machine. 

However, it is important that we sometimes need time to attain awareness and need to pay attention to some details of our thoughts in order to trust our intuition or to remain strong during the implementation phase. Awareness also needs new information if intuition was not followed or feelings have not been trained. Ruminating over an Excel spreadsheet all night can help to process what came to me intuitively while jogging. In addition, it is often necessary to involve other people in order to make decisions transparent. Logical, clear thought processes are good in this case, even if they only touch on a part of a complex decision. “What” is very good for naming the target intuitively, a logical strategy helps where “How” is concerned. The wrong way to go about things is to brood over the “How” before having the target or rather the actual decision. A plus-minus list can help to fuel intuition, by the time you get to point 20 you “quite simply know the answer”. All the chronically indecisive can do is to set a deadline or go over old decisions again meticulously, but mainly they need to undertake more trust exercises.

I think it is time to stop with the question of logic or intuition, for me intuition is as logical as nature itself. Life (life-saving) and solution-orientated, effective although complex as well as fast and volatile. Timing is also of great importance, perhaps there were plants that became extinct hundreds of years ago that would have a chance of survival in a hundred year's time, song titles that came on the scene 50 years too soon, (intuitive) decisions whose time is not yet ripe. 

The wisdom of the heart is needed again to withstand all this. There is no decision not to grapple sufficiently with important decisions, snap decisions are taboo in management as are delaying tactics. Decision makers must train decision making, they must come to terms with what making a decision means and with all the aspects of this issue. Claiming that there is only this one solution, guts instead of head or a great calculation analysis is putting things too simply for a manager personality. The job of managers is to make decisions so they must learn to involve people, to communicate, justify, live and implement decisions and to stand by justified changes.

In this respect the coaching tip: Get to know your own logic, your intuition, your kinds of decision, get to know yourself, dare to make decisions and heighten the challenges and chances to gain experience

True to the motto: today’s mistake is yesterday's solution; tomorrow's solution could be a mistake today.In the final instance there are no mistakes and no solutions only decisions, implementation and results.

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