INTUITION - How big does it play in the decision making process?
June 21, 2017
But first... Do you believe in intuition?
Well, I believe you will agree with me that if we ask this question to any woman, the answer will be almost immediately, YES! However, if we ask men, they will be reluctant to confirm. What is your experience on this?
I am currently reading a very interesting book - How Women Decide by Therese Huston - and she has pointed out some revealing "gender biases" most of us, women and men, have regarding our decision-making processes.
For instance, she says that "in relationship decisions, in job decisions, in medical decisions, women think long and hard about their choices, but once they've made those choices, even well-educated, powerful, strong women put them in a box labelled Going with My Gut; Following my Heart; or Trusting my Intuition."
Why is that, even after thinking long and hard, women still need to say their decisions where based on "gut feelings"?
Houston explains that, "intuition feels like knowing... the word intuition means being taught or guided from inside, and because it is from inside, not out there, it feels more accurate, more deserving of your (our) deepest trust."
She continues, "have you ever heard the term men's intuition? Even once? Probably not. Intuition has been branded as a woman's thing..."
An article for "Psychology Today (2015) warned that women shouldn't reveal that they are making decisions based on their intuitive radar. It counselled, "feelings are not credible in a man's world."
On contrary of the majority's perception, Huston states that women, in most cases, are more detailed oriented than men, and in a similar decision making process women would gather more data than a man to back up their decision. However, she also claims that women deliberate for too long on those data before reaching a final decision, or even, that in the end they expose their decisions indirectly only. Such behaviour is what she calls the "dogsled problem"; "women might make the decisions that gets the sleds ready to weather the course, but when the flags goes up, everyone expects men to be driving, making the visible, crucial decisions that win the race."
When it comes to the decision-making process what is expected is to be decisive. And to be decisive you need to be almost fearless and able to take action fast. Qualities that paint a picture of a man in most people's mind.
To conclude she says, "if we want women in leadership, we need to stop seeing them as people who merely get the team to the starting line; we need to start seeing them as potential drivers for race day..."
I would add, we should start seeing ourselves as potential drivers and believe in our capacity of providing decisions "faster"; in order to become more competitive in the market we operate. Deliberating over a topic is good and necessary, however, we should learn and exercise moving forward in a faster manner.
I know it is easier said than done. The professional world out there IS male-dominated, therefore, we (both women and men) carry many biases towards the female/male relationship and performance in the working/business environment. "We are all very quick to question a woman's decision but inclined to accept a man's. We trust men to make the hard choices, even the unpleasant ones. And we scrutinise a woman in the very same position. We may not mean, but we doubt the quality of her choices; " Huston states.
The fact is, intuition alone, as some kind of "supernatural special gift", doesn't necessary lead to the most accurate and desirable result in the decision making process. "Gut feeling" comes from a inner natural instinctive source, however, it should be accessed carefully before taking it as the "sole source" for your decision. In fact, it is the combination of gut feeling and expertise that will send the "intuition signs" that will lead to favourable results.
Therefore, the lesson here is to become aware of those gender biases and behaviours, and make sure our decision-making process is a healthy combination of facts and "educated gut feelings"; and faster!
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Have an awesome week.
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