Data vs Gut Feeling

You are a well-qualified and highly regarded young manager. You were recently promoted to a decision-making role from an executional one. You are at the gateway to upper echelons. You want to ace this assignment. What should you do? Decide to be based on data or gut feel?

Data is a bundle of numbers and words. It stimulates “thinking” in our brains and “feelings” in our body. When someone speaks to us in joy or anger, our brain picks up facts and logic while our body picks up moods, feelings, and emotions. Similarly, a press report of a terror attack in a distant land, makes us think of the unreasonable nature of terrorism and in parallel feel the anguish of the victims.

In short, we parallel to process data; at thinking / logical level AND feeling / emotional level. And, if that is the case, shouldn’t we reframe Data vs Gut Feel into Data AND Gut Feel? Think!

Proponents of “decision by data” would tout, Warren Buffet’s “Twelve tenets for value investing.” However, they will not draw attention to his alert, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

Similarly, proponents of “decision by gut feel” would tout, Steve Job’s decision to launch the Apple i Pad, without market research. However, they will not draw attention to Steve Job’s study of the failure of the Microsoft Tablet PC, launched a good ten years earlier.

Break free from the “Either-Or” thinking. Recognize your ability to process in parallel, at the cerebral and emotional levels. Grow yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. You will ace this assignment and justify your elevation to decision-making levels.

– by Ravi Santhanam for Zeus

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