Intuition Helps You Achieve Greater Success in Business

by Diana Rankin on April 3, 2017

Intuition isn’t just for aiding us in our personal lives. It also helps business people, from the CEO to clerical services to the shipping clerk.

Several years ago, when I left California and moved to Ohio, I presented a motivational breakfast seminar to the Creative Services and Marketing Department of a Fortune 500 company. Perhaps it was the California influence, but I went out on a limb with the last line on the agenda. It read: “The ‘L’ Word.”

In today’s culture the “L word” might be easier recognized, but this was 1984 and most business people in Ohio weren’t thinking of the “L word,”  let alone speaking it out loud in front of coworkers.

I explained to the participants that three letters followed the “L” and this word had a lot to do with their work and also their personal lives. There was a lot of hemming and hawing around the room, with a few guesses – luck, labs, lack, and so on, but no one came close – except one man, the vice president and head of the department. He was smiling while his staff kept trying to guess the right word. I knew that he knew the answer, so after a few minutes I gave him the floor.

“Love,” he said. “To be good at your work, you have to love it, and if you don’t love what you’re doing, you don’t belong in this department.”

After a long moment of silence, I heard people starting to breathe again.  

“I love what I do,” he continued. “That’s why I’m so successful.”

Heads started nodding and people started smiling. They all got it.

Okay, you say, I get that love isn’t a dirty word in business anymore, but what does love have to do with intuition?

To be successful in one, you need the other. It’s the combination of love for what we do, coupled with intuition that takes us beyond knowledge and leads to our success, whether that success is leading a company, knowing what clerical backup is needed before it’s asked for, or moving out of harm’s way if a tower of boxes start to tumble.

Loving our work gives us the passion and motivation to put in the long hours to learn all about our business of choice. There is no substitute for knowledge and experience, but success comes with that extra step – using intuition, aka, that “gut instinct.”

In an article by Modesto A. Maidique in the Harvard Business Review, he writes:

“Gut,” replied Carnival CEO, Micky Arison, when I quizzed him while interviewing him for a research project on CEO decision making, on how he arrived at the most important and fruitful decision of his career: the $5.45 B acquisition of Princess Cruises. I must have seemed somewhat puzzled for Mr. Arison emphatically clarified, “I trust my gut.”

One of the most famous CEOs of all time, Steve Jobs, stated the importance of that gut feeling well: ““Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

© 2016 Diana Rankin


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