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A new study from researchers at Rice University, George Mason University and Boston College suggests you should trust your gut — but only if you’re an expert… Across both studies, participants who possessed expertise within the task domain performed on average just as well intuitively as analytically. In addition, experts significantly outperformed novices when making their decisions intuitively but not when making their decisions analytically.
Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations… Practiced consistently, this simple method will show you within a fairly short period of time, maybe two or three years, where your strengths lie—and this is the most important thing to know.
Don’t trust your memory. Write it down. Make it a game . See where you score highly and not so highly.
Being able to make decisions when you know you have imperfect data is so critical. I was always taught that “A good decision now is better than a perfect decision in two days.” Many people I know in business recoil at that statement. Many colleagues in graduate school had come from places where they were analysts at a company and their job was to analyze and analyze and analyze. They couldn’t believe somebody would say that you should actually encourage people to make a decision with imperfect information — but I firmly believe you should. I think that’s really important for leaders to incorporate. It’s something that the White House has to do all the time. It’s great to analyze things but at some stage you’re just spinning your wheels.
If I had to give advice across many aspects of life, I would ask people to take what’s called “the outside perspective.” And the outside perspective is easily thought about: “What would you do if you made the recommendation for another person?” And I find that often when we’re recommending something to another person, we don’t think about our current state and we don’t think about our current emotions. We actually think a bit more distantly from the decision and often make the better decision because of that.
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