Personal Development

Intuition: It's more than your gut

Three types of intuition guides our intuitive decision-making, but not all of them suit every situation.

Intuition: It's more than your gut
Editorial Team
April 12, 2016
Intuition: It's more than your gut

In daily decision making, when can you make a quick decision over a well calculated one? It has to do with trusting your intuition. Interestingly, there are 3 types of intuition. Yes, 3. However only expert intuition is emotionally and cognitively based, which is the best type to rely on when making quick/confident decisions.

Ordinary Intuition

This describes your gut feeling, like a tingle, twitch or rumble in your stomach. Example: I’m interviewing someone for a position. And before interviewing them, my gut says, “Nope, don’t hire him.” This is called “ordinary intuition,” an emotional sense with little or unlikely basis in logic. This type of intuition can be helpful, however, since “gut” is not based on rational thought, this is not the best to use for business decisions.

Strategic Intuition

William Duggan, senior lecturer at Columbia Business School, and author of Strategic Intuition, The Creative Spark in Human Achievement, describes it as entrepreneurial and creative thinking because it’s what happens when ideas are new. Therefore, it is slow to develop and takes time. So, when you have a new presentation that needs a catchy title or creating new products, using strategic intuition can be helpful. Although, a-ha moments can’t be forced, we can’t decide to use it, it just happens. So we can’t depend on strategic intuition either.

Expert Intuition

When you’ve seen it before, have facts about what’s going on and “know” it’s the right decision, that’s more than gut – it means you’re an expert. When you have previous experience with something, so you use intuition as a foundation to work through a similar situation confidently and skillfully. It seems like ordinary intuition, but it’s not. Take for example as a project manager you see a timeline slipping or the project scope creeping, you know what to do because you see pattern from the past. This is “expert intuition” and can be trusted for work. It is what you're hired for, to make decision in your job that you have experience in.

So when you think, “I‘ve seen this before,” whether it be a prior job, a few years ago at the same job, or just last week. Trust your expert intuition.