Gut instinct or intuition is thought of as dangerous ground, as it can—and often has—led to a discriminatory selection process. Using intuition by itself may lead to situations where we only hire people we know or like, people we don’t feel threatened by, who remind us of ourselves, or who are exactly the same as the other people in our team. Your gut instinct, if not combined with more analytical data, is likely to result in hiring the person you can see yourself having a drink with, or inviting to a barbeque—not necessarily the person who is the best for the job. But it is important to note that the role of gut instinct and intuition should not be completely ignored.

Instinct plays a vital role in how we make decisions and prevents us from falling into the dangerous territory of groupthink and over-analysis.

The role of the gut

Instinct is a natural, subconscious response that helps us to determine danger. Think of a time when you’ve met someone you just didn’t feel comfortable around and then you later found out that person had a shady past. Your intuition was confirmed by evidence. Think of a time when you felt a little off in someone’s house, only to find out later that your host had just had a heated argument with their partner. This is your brain taking the temperature of a room, feeling the underlying tension, and responding to it by eliciting your fight-or-flight instinct. When it comes to business decisions, it is usually our expertise, experience, and knowledge that allow us to read a situation and respond to it instinctually.

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