Gut wrenching or going with your gut

Every week I see business leaders, their direct reports and front line employees making “gut feeling” decisions.

Much has been written on the benefits of going with your gut, and the worst decisions tend to be ones where your analytical mind is telling your one thing but your gut is sounding off all sorts of alarms, so, yes, going with your gut has some validity, however:

1) Are you going exclusively with your gut or is your opinion informed?
2) Do you know why you are comfortable or uncomfortable with a situation?
3) Have you confronted the facts?

I could list a myriad of additional questions to consider but my point is that there is a vast difference between going with your gut because it is sending off warning signals, and simply feeling that everything will work out fine because you feel it.

Facts are facts. You can't ignore them yet many people chose to, and they make their gut the scapegoat for ignorance of the facts. How a person processes the facts is an entirely different discussion from accepting the facts.

Somewhere around 1984 an executive at the hospital where I worked informed me that there are three types of people. You have undoubtedly heard of at least two of these types by now, the optimist and the pessimist. The optimist sees the glass half full while the pessimist sees the glass half empty.

She saw herself as a third type, the realist, and recognized that if she stayed around long enough someone was going to have to wash that glass. Funding cuts had been announced. Some workers were pessimistic and wrung their hands as they waited to lose their jobs, others were optimistic that their value was significant enough that they would not be affected at all. Meanwhile my executive mentor wisely began making plans and taking swift action to make changes within her control before someone else imposed changes out of her control.

Your gut may guide you, but seeing people ignoring the facts gives me a stomachache.

About Wayne McKinnon

Wayne McKinnon works with organizations to change their course of evolutions from extinct to distinct
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