Aug 25th 2021

Intuitive intelligence: Has leadership lost the human touch?

Science has been our guiding light through COVID-19, helping us to form the corporate policy and protocol that’s driving our recovery.

In the interim, digital transformation has accelerated, further embedding Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and other data-driven technologies into the business decision-making process.

But as we increasingly rely on metrics to make progress, are we neglecting the power of the human touch?

New leadership for a new age

“In times of change, the greatest danger is to act with yesterday’s logic” – Management Consultant, Peter Drucker

New research by Hult International Business School identifies three intelligences – ego, eco, and intuitive – each of which contribute to the choices that senior leadership teams make.

However, in striving for control at a time of unprecedented disruption, ego-intelligence has become the dominant force in the boardroom.

If we are to learn anything from the COVID crisis, it is that we are not in control, despite our best efforts and preparations. Balance must be returned to the business strategy equation.

What healthy progress now demands is a more thoughtful, agile approach that steps away from the prescriptive conventions of the ego.

The value of intuitive intelligence

“The only real valuable thing is intuition” ― Albert Einstein

How many of us would favour using empirical evidence when it comes to making the decisions that matter, even if our gut feeling tells us to move in a different direction? Many experts feel we are losing out when we ignore our intuitive intelligence in this way.

Einstein is just one leader who championed intuition over the conscious mind. Steve Jobs also pinned his success on following his heart: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice”, the former Apple boss famously said.

How HR can help

Intuitive intelligence brings fresh perspectives that can disrupt the status quo, break through stagnating processes and spark the innovation needed to create a real turning point in the fortunes of any business.

The actionable insights below will help you to encourage ideas, self-expression and develop environments that nurture intuition:

  • Formulate positive and negative reactions to comments that you might hear in a meeting. Phrases to avoid might be: “I don’t think that would work”, whereas “let’s explore this option” would be more encouraging – the type of language that welcomes curiosity.
  • Look for workplace issues, external events, or news items that have guided your thought processes. Having colleagues on the same wavelength will help to forge a mindset that is always alert to “outside-the-box” thinking.
  • Promote outdoor exercise or meditative practices that support physical and mental wellbeing. Beyond strengthening body and mind, healthy behaviours can improve concentration, allowing intuition and foresight to flourish.
  • Set up a forum to allow staff to safely question the choices coming out of the boardroom. Offering non-monetary rewards, such as dinner vouchers or cinema tickets, can help to generate constructive criticism and a supportive attitude to challenging conventional thought.

Forging a culture that values intuition in your business can be achieved with very little restructuring. So, work from the top down to instil inquisitiveness and agility in the minds of your leaders.

Through incremental change, you’ll find this philosophy spreads to become a priority for your people, reinvigorating the organisation at its core to deliver game-changing results.

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