Why you Shouldn’t Trust Your Instincts in Business
We have all heard someone say at one point or another that you should “just go with your gut” or “trust your instinct.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all just live a life where we were all just right all the time? (Cue parenting or relationship joke here…)
The problem is that we can’t always be right – but we can be informed in our decision-making. Someone who is an expert in their field might approach a situation at an advantage (with sharpened instincts) to someone who doesn’t really know much about it. For example, a restaurateur who has already opened two restaurants in one city would know whether opening a third would be a good business investment and what to expect throughout the process. Someone who has never even worked in the food service industry who doesn’t know much about the process wouldn’t be able to just make a decision based on their instincts because they don’t really have the tools to make it happen or to know whether it will be a successful investment. Their gut instinct would be based on their last restaurant experience as a customer.
We all have instincts for a reason, however, to use them to their fullest extent you need to sharpen them – they aren’t going to just magically sharpen on their own.
Here are a few ways to sharpen your instinct to help you in the decision making process:
Learn how to read people.
This is closest to using the instinct you already have. That sense you get where you are uncomfortable around certain people, you can usually trust that. However, sometimes in business you will run in to people who are really great at fooling people. You need to be able to read the signs.
Learn from mistakes and victories.
Keep track of how you got to where you are, whether good or bad. If you track your successes and losses, you can better pinpoint where things went wrong. If you are able to identify the factors in your success|failures, the next time a similar situation comes up, you can make an informed decision that is second nature, because you already went through it and debriefed from the last time.
Learn how to say no.
The more comfortable you are with saying no to people when you either can’t do something or it doesn’t feel like the right opportunity, the less it will play a factor in your decision-making. You can’t be all things to all people, and if you are known as simply a “yes man” then people might try to take advantage of you.
Learn how to ask the right questions.
Don’t be afraid to question yourself, but make sure they are constructive questions rather than questions designed to make you second guess your final decision.
The more you know about the situation in question the easier you can make a successful decision. Knowledge is power. Become an expert in your industry.
Surround yourself with the right types of people.
Find people that encourage you to better yourself. We’re not talking about a self-help group, but you want to find people that are like-minded.
You won’t make impeccable decisions right away. It will take time to sharpen your instincts. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
When it comes down to it, trusting your instincts in business can be a good thing, but only if you take the time to sharpen them, otherwise it will always be a gamble.
Writer: » Adrienne