Do you ever hire or put work teams together? Are you ever developing relationships with clients, advisors, supervisors, or your staff? Do you ever have to make career choice decisions? Are you ever in position to decide about a new product and what quantities to produce, distribute, or acquire? Do you have to stay ahead or at least up with the trends? If you answered yes, then you may want to read on and explore how you can tap your deepest and strongest levels of wisdom. . .
An executive buyer for a national retail chain of full service department stores played a “hunch" and created huge profits and national recognition for her stores. She had learned her job over several years and understood her customers but when it came to predicting the fashion trends she was still more guessing than using statistical analysis. Her intuition told her that an overlooked style would be a “hit" and proceeded to order the dress in certain fabrics and in large quantities. The manufacturer, being an honorable business associate, tried to dissuade her knowing that every other major buyer had overlooked or discounted this particular style. The buyer being strong willed and very strong on this “gut feeling" maintained her large order. A large promotional campaign was launched and to everyone's surprise, except the buyer, the dress sold out rapidly causing every other major store chain to demand this product. Thousands of this dress style were sold and the buyer's reputation was elevated by this business decision. Though it seemed to go against logic and current reasoning, this bold act sent this retail market spinning in a new and profitable direction. This buyer developed many unexplainable projects in her successful career and she still considers her intuition responsible for much of the recognition that brought her to the very top of her profession.
Recently an increasing number of reports are pouring in, unexplainable situations of great decision making that appear to be “lucky guesses. " Executives who did not play the “odds" and chose instead untested teams of people or products that overnight created huge growth and huge profits for the developers and investors. Some new technologies are so “cutting-edge" that no one can accurately predict the direction and outcomes of these activities. This includes investing in high-tech, foreign markets, trends of the national market, world political trends, and the needs for NEW products and services. Who could have predicted that that within the past ten years products and services like: cellular phones, pagers, E-mail, faxing, the internet, bio-technology, even Dilbert, would be the necessities of business executives competing for world business. Trends are evolving but being ahead of the trends takes, guts, fortitude, and a deep insight that accurately can feel the “right" directions for the future.
The story about the buyer has been repeated in every industry. The “gut feeling" decisions that have lead to success seem to be increasing with the advent of new technologies and the “uncharted" arenas that must be negotiated. With no “track record" many business decisions must be made quickly and without historical support. Executives with good instincts are driving the explosion of instant millionaires that many industries, particularly “high tech" businesses, in the past decade.
Have you ever experienced ultimate satisfaction in a business activity or decision? Have you ever “played a hunch" and had it come out better than your expectations? Have you ever experienced being totally “connected" or “in synch" with your client or team and had profound results? Were you ever “in the groove" with your sales and marketing activities? Most importantly, did you ever have a “Gut Feeling" about a decision that was so powerful it could even override prevailing thought or certain statistical facts, and achieve great results? Did you ever “know in your Gut" that you had chosen the “right" people for the project even though they were relatively new, inexperienced, or had never worked together before, they just developed the “Right chemistry" to make “it" happen?
Sometimes, for a not fully explained reason, an executive will make great decisions that far exceed expectations. For some managers this happens only rarely, and their track record may show that they are careful and do not take risks. This has been a successful strategy for some managers. But increasingly, business is moving into new areas, perhaps uncharted territory, and the smaller companies who play the “hunches" may wind up winning, creating large payoffs in these new arenas. Some executives have the reputation for “big wins" and develop a track record that make their hard work and great “guesses" produce big leads over their competition. These “guesses", “hunches, " and “gut feelings" separate the innovators from the managers that follow the leaders. “You can make dust or eat it!"
Customer service also can rely on special qualities where salespeople, managers, or executives can “connect" in a special way with their customers and create a relationship of trust and rapport that develops special loyalty and long term success. People who are “good" with people as managers or in providing customer service produce good returns on the company's bottomline.
Many executives when in training, in teaching, or in business activities use metaphors from sports. They play aggressively. They “have their head in the game. " They are “in the groove, " “hitting on all cylinders, " and sometimes totally in the “zone. " Athletes describe “being in the zone" where their perceptions are so sharp that time seems to slow down. Their decisions are so clear and precise that they can surgically pick apart the other team's defense and score in the almost impossible ways. Examples of this abound, where a quarterback, or point guard, or sales executive, intuitively knows what his teammate/client will do, and in a split second delivers the “ball" to the perfect position for it to be received, “in stride, " to complete the drive for a score! This “state of being" is a rare pleasure to experience under any circumstance. When you feel this on the field or in business, it adds to the satisfaction of the experience. In its way it has addicting qualities that brings you back time and time again. This can motivate an executive, letting him/her feel that they are at the very “top. "
Too often we wait for these situations to manifest. We are not proactive in creating the proper emotional, mental, and physical environment to perform at this level and with this satisfaction. Some experienced veterans can pull these qualities out in key situations and use them with great aplomb. Some younger, creative executives seem to have these abilities and can “hit a homerun" early-on. But this is an experience that is an emotional skill that can not happen upon command, consistently, without proper training and nurturing of this skill.
Every competitive company and executive leader wants every advantage that they can develop. Consultants and trainers showcase the latest business techniques. Most business management techniques can be taught through normal teaching methods in classes or through verbal instructions. The “Gut Feelings" of a clear intuitional decision is derived in an entirely different way. It comes through a special “connection" or “feeling" that can not be taught in normal teaching methods. The experience must be provided, guided, enhanced, supported, and nurtured for its full development in a consistent trustworthy “feel-set" (skill-set with feeling. )
Major disruptions to intuition and focus occur in the presence of stress and fear! Controlling fears, insecurities, and your stress response is the first step to preparing for the connection with your intuitive insights. In other words, you must control the background noise and distraction that we most often feel when we are not “in the present moment" and not “in our bodies" in a healthy way. Much has been written about stress management for business and optimum performance can be achieved for athletes or business people through the focus of relaxation and then the special visualizations of success and “peak performance" programming.
The next steps involve immersion through ritual and developed exercises that reconnect you with certain quiet parts of yourself. Physical and emotional blocks need to be circumvented through awareness, acceptance, and then re-channeling of consciousness. A sensitivity to these feelings must be established and then honed to gain the “clarity" that will make this more consistent, trustworthy, and predictable. This phase is not the easiest. It requires diligence and practice. The skill of being able to “let go" physically and emotionally takes some time. It takes mastery of fear to trust that the unconscious forces can give special protection and then guidance. Then the levels of self-awareness and acceptance lead to self-confidence in the special way that successful, creative producers have achieved (for consistent success. )
The phase of balance and grace is a rewarding and beneficial achievement. No matter what the activity you participate within, these levels of focus and of being centered, create the proper internal environment for success. These attributes are not just for business but for all life activities and pursuits. Most people never take the time to achieve these states and never find the deeper satisfaction with their lives. Relationships, families, health and business can suffer from the lack of balance and grace. At a universal level, the world would have more peace, less crime, and fewer environmentally stupid occurrences if balance and grace were honored and cultivated.
© L. John Mason, 1996
7 Steps to Intuitive Power
L. John Mason, Ph. D. is the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction. " Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training.
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