In a business world increasingly relying on data to make its biggest decisions, including hiring, growth, product development, and sales, international business consultant Rick Snyder calls upon business leaders to develop and follow intuitive intelligence as a powerful tool that should be combined with data analytics for superior decision-making.
Intuition is distinct from instinct, thought, or bias, and is a critical skill to build. It’s a differentiator. In Rick’s experience, intuition can be taught. In his new book, Decisive Intuition: Use Your Gut to Make Smart Business Decisions, Rick shares his research and techniques to master intuition.
“If you don’t listen to your intuition, you’ll feel empty inside even if you’re ‘successful.'” -Rick Snyder
Tap Into Your Intuition
What is your definition of intuition? How can we tap into it?
My practical definition of intuition is ‘an embodied knowing that comes from listening to what happens next.’ In other words, it’s a knowing that doesn’t just come from our conscious mind, but from being open to all of our senses. This requires an element of being receptive, where we listen to all of the cues and signals that we are picking up on internally and externally, to help us make the best decisions possible. We can tap into this by using hindsight to learn about how our intuitive language uniquely speaks to us. In other words, when you had an inner sense about something and did or didn’t listen to it, how did the message come to you? Was it a feeling, images, a sound, or something from your dream state, which is where our subconscious mind helps us process and connect the dots from our day? The more we slow down, put down the distractions, tune-in to our inner language and listen, the more we create the space for our intuition to find us.
“The more we slow down, put down the distractions, tune-in to our inner language and listen, the more we create the space for our intuition to find us.” -Rick Snyder
You start with a compelling story on intuition. What do many of us get wrong when we are thinking about it?
Most people think that intuition is either something that you are born with or not. I have a different view based on my own experience and numerous business leaders that I’ve worked with. Like any skill, intuition can be developed. For example, if we practice playing the piano every day, we will improve. We might never be Mozart, but we will get incrementally better over time. Intuition is the same. There are some people that have more natural talent with listening to their inner compass, but everyone can develop this skill by putting more attention on developing receptivity from all that you are experiencing throughout the day, such as energetics, emotions, what people are not saying, body language, and countless other data points.
“Intuition is our deeper intelligence that is able to read the room or the marketplace, make decisions from a wiser resource, and extract data faster than the conscious mind can analyze.” -Rick Snyder
Obstacles to Overcome
What are a few of the obstacles we face?
In my book I list five major obstacles to developing a relationship with our intuition. The top ones are the rational mind, doubt, busyness, fear, and the ego. The most prevalent obstacle, by far, is the conscious, rational mind. The mind likes to be in control. It makes us feel safer when we think we have a grasp on how life, the markets, relationships, or anything else is supposed to go. We take comfort in what seems rational, linear, and predictable. The problem with that is life doesn’t play by these rules. Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows this. Markets crash unexpectedly. New disruptors show up on the scene. Things happen that you didn’t see coming. Tuning into your intuition gives you access to a more immediate pulse of what’s actually happening in the moment. It allows you to read out what’s happening right now, and to better anticipate what’s coming next. It’s a different data stream than the conscious mind, and the mind has mixed feelings about this. It doesn’t like to think that there’s another sheriff in town that might have access to more wisdom and better decision-making. Our mind will judge, discount, ignore, and refute what we are feeling and picking up on, especially if it doesn’t go along with the nice story that we have about ourselves.
“If you find yourself stuck or stagnant on the same problem and see no way around it, disrupt your typical routine or mode of thinking.” -Rick Snyder
How to Encourage Intuition
The first step in developing and encouraging intuitive intelligence for ourselves and those around us is to remember that leaders go first. In other words, leaders set the tone. If you want to create a culture that respects, integrates, and applies intuitive intelligence for greater innovation, you have to be willing to model this, which is risky and vulnerable—especially when you don’t know the outcome and your decision might not be popular. Creating a culture of safety and trust is paramount, as people don’t take risks to share outside-the-box ideas unless they feel safe enough to do so. So how can you encourage people to take more risks in sharing moonshot ideas in your brainstorming sessions and team meetings? This will help foster a more innovative company culture.
Befriend Your Inner Critic
I’ve heard people try to silence their inner critic. You say that we should befriend the inner critic. How can this help us achieve breakthroughs?
The inner critic is the voice inside our head that reminds us that we are “not good enough,” “are too much,” and is constantly comparing ourselves to others or to an ideal version of ourselves that never existed. The voice of our inner critic impedes us from listening to our intuitive intelligence and thwarts our success at work more than any other external factor. Simply silencing the inner critic doesn’t work, and it tends to leak out in indirect and unexpected ways. When we befriend our inner critic, we begin to establish a relationship with it and begin to accept this part of ourselves. We will never have inner peace as long as we are at war with our critic, which ultimately is protecting our shame or unworthiness. The inner critic only has power over us to the degree that we are fighting against it. When we get into a relationship with our critic, we learn how and why it’s trying to protect us, and begin to take over its job. In other words, we restore our self-leadership as we integrate the wisdom of our critic without letting it run our show.
“If left unchecked, the inner critic impedes us from listening to our intuitive intelligence and thwarts our success at work more than any external factor.” -Rick Snyder
Why is your body wiser than your mind?
We live in an era where we worship the mind. Yet neuroscience shows us that we have neuroreceptors in most cells of our body that are taking in and processing information in real-time. In other words, by taking a whole-body approach and tuning into our full intelligence, we pick up on more information and at faster rates than our conscious mind can handle. I’m witnessing exciting breakthroughs with business leaders who are making faster and better decisions because they are opening up to all of the data that’s available to them that’s beyond analyzing the spreadsheets and reports.
For more information, see Decisive Intuition: Use Your Gut to Make Smart Business Decisions.