Aoccdng to resaarchh at Cambirge Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer hwow the lletrs in wroodds are agnrared; olnly tahat the frist adnd last ltters aer in the rgight pclaes. You probably had little trouble reading the first sentence of this column. It’s because the brain sees the form of letters that are recognizable to it, and not only the letters.
While many of you may not think that intuition is in your DNA, the mind, and the experience that informs it, have other ways of “forming” our view of things, and thus the conclusions that naturally derive. Daily occurrences, repeatable models of behavior or circumstances, have a profound affect on our sense of what’s going on around us, forming our view of behavior and things that can be recalled to serve problem solving and decision making. This subconscious mirroring of the current with the past (for what it means to us) is both observable and repeatable, and helps us ‘see” what we cannot otherwise see or intuit by our so-called DNA. The manner of employing such skill or natural inclination is well-documented work, by observers such as Thomas L. Harrison, Instinct, L.M. Keller, T.J. Bouchard, D.H. Skuse, and many others with more scientific models of how imprinted experience affects cognitive behavior.
In the work-a-day world the model challenges us to get off the pendulum and rewind our mainsprings in an effort to see what is likely before our very eyes to accomplish the all important task of imputing predictability to business practice and planning. Seeing the patterns-buying, selling, problem identification, business practice, predictive models-reveals what has succeeded and failed; giving substance to decision making for both immediate and strategic issues. Intuition, we know, is worth its weight in gold. The old saw that “A good hunch is worth a lot of money,” is not chimera or whim. It is the well-worn conclusion that the “feel” one has for his market, competitive position, and external influencers, can be counted on to mold good decisions when good data is in short supply. This is not the licking of the thumb held high in the wind, but rather the sense of the field that allows expert navigation through corridors that are seemingly dark to others.
We see patterns that mean something to us, and that are uniquely qualified by our experience. Absent Larry Bird’s court sense, we may rely on such patterns to find opportunity and solutions in the complex fabric of business and life.
Each week’s ROI column is touched by experience. Even when rooted in another’s, it becomes my own. What it means to me forms unique models and conclusions that are not so apparent to others’ before they form a visual model of words that alone would fail to communicate. Thoughts form around those words and the model of what I see comes into view for others. Is it intuition (more on this later) or is it a keen sense of the trends that emerge from everyday experiences?
Seeing through the obvious, around corners, and behind closed doors may be more practice than prescience, as Mr. Harrison describes it. He suggests we do a number of things to develop this gene.
Borrow from others. Join with others who appear to have a well-developed ability to spot trends and act on them. This may be someone who sees new products in the old, or is known for her “feeling” about things that are usually spot-on.
Look for the obvious. Most so-called discoveries are hidden in plan view. A newspaper is only as valuable as its content. But how people get it, especially in a busy world, and the simple mechanisms by which we deliver the news, has haunted publishers since the advent of the Internet. The thought occurred to me: why not send news messages to people where they are, whenever, but non-invasively, for them to decide which to learn more about. “ncnnews” and “ncnsports” alerts are the result, facilitated through the magic of SMS text messaging. Snippets of breaking news or sports news are sent to subscribers for their decision-making on which to link to a fuller story. It’s working very well.
Get the big picture. Americans are information hungry but attention poor. The bad news is obvious; we give too little to too much. The good news is that “intuition follows information,” which allows us to grow our sense of what’s going on. Associative learners are practiced at this methodology.
Narrow your focus. All organizations must look to the Internet to get closer to their customers. It’s what I call the “evolution of revolution.” Getting closer to the customer is what all market systems have worked to achieve since the beginning. Today there are more tools than ever that offer unique assistance. Focus and your sense of what is real are needed to discern the good from the bad.
Do something. Albert Einstein liked to say, “Nothing happens until something moves.” We must act on the opportunities before us, with good judgment and caution. Mr Harrison suggests that we “start to swing before the pitch arrives.” It’s good form.
Refresh. My wife and I always work while on vacation. I know many business owners who do the same. But we also take the time to relax and recharge. Often, that time away from the daily business of work gives rise to an extraordinary view of things. Many of our best ideas and clearest models come when doing something totally unrelated to work.
Finally, what goes up must come down. It’s a law of physics that business can’t deny. Life and work are cyclical in nature, which makes spotting trends an even more important skill.