November 2, 2010

Trust your gut, not the experts

Just back from this year's Neuroleadership Summit in Boston where we heard from leading researchers from Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Cambridge and NYU. The sessions were fascinating and the in-between conversations rich with ideas. I highly recommend attending next years' summit in San Francisco.

On day two, Sandy Pentland and Richard Daft laid out a compelling argument for trusting your gut over the so-called "expert" advice. High status does not necessarily translate into high quality. Often, it is just the opposite.

When we think attentively, we tap into the
millions of bits of information that our unconscious mind takes in and processes from our environment. While we're mostly unaware of this, it adds up to an intuitive understanding of the right course of action, leading to much smarter decisions.

When we lapse into habitual thinking and defer to the experts, we ignore the subtle clues that lead us to the right decision. The results are often worse than if your average person were left to decide.

Bottom line? Trust your gut. Great leaders do time and again. They're rarely wrong

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