Tag Archives: Gut feel

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workplace instincts

Workplace Instincts and Honing Your Craft

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Do you trust your gut? Do you use workplace instincts to guide what you’ll do next?

People often assess what they’ll do next based on what they often call, gut feel. Is this a learned process or something more instinctual?

A bright light, and you look away. The sun heating up your skin to the point of discomfort so you seek shelter. A loud noise and you cover your ears.

Are these instincts or learned responses?

Behind closed doors the boss is critical of someone’s work. In the meeting the next day the boss seemingly ignores that same person. One week later the boss won’t make eye contact with you.

Paranoia, or some really insightful observations? What do your instincts suggest? What’s in your gut?

Everything that we do in the workplace is likely a learned behavior. It may stem from childhood, the place you worked at before this one or something that you’ve picked up about the organizational culture.

What should you do with all of this data? Are you overreacting?

Workplace Instincts

Workplace instincts help you every day. They help you to analyze the scope of the conversation. They cause you to filter your expressions, use more kindness, or suppress an anger rage.

Your next contribution, the ideas presented in the brainstorming meeting, or the gratitude expressed for a job well done will be based on what you’ve learned.

Observation is data collection, analyzing the data and making adjustments should become part of future behavior.

There may be a fine line between what is truly instinctual and what is a learned behavior.

Honing your craft is always smart course of action.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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assumption decisions

Assumption Decisions Are Made In Every Meeting

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Meetings are often about decisions. They are also about information, thinking, and often about assumptions. Are you making assumption decisions?

At the very start of every meeting there are assumptions. The assumption about why Jane is missing, why Bob looks worried, and about how the meeting will evolve.

Most meetings expect reflection. Reflection is part of experiential learning and it is part of being a participant and contributor.

What are you reflecting upon?

Meeting Anxiety

Are you wondering what will happen when you’re asked to verbally contribute? Will you be called upon to vote, respond, or is the expectation to simply nod your head?

What is the elephant in the room? Is the elephant your imagination or do others feel the same thing?

Everyone knows that we shouldn’t make decisions based upon assumptions. However, when the data is lacking, when we’re lazy, or when our experiences tell us it is safe, we do it.

Technology and data are helping us get better. We have gauges and sensors that help eliminate assumptions.

The temperature in the room, made known by a gauge. A tire with low pressure on our car, known by a gauge. The amount of storage used on our computing device, yes, of course, known by the data or gauge.

Is valid and reliable data better than making an assumption?

Assumption Decisions

All of our modern conveniences help us do better by being smarter. We make better choices because the information seems irrefutable.

Occasionally, an assumption will get in the way. We’ll either choose to ignore the data or we’ll take a different path because the path appears more consistent with our gut feel.

What assumption decisions are you or your team making? And the outcomes, how have they worked out?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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new ideas

New Ideas Are Not Your Normal

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Do you know someone who knows it all? Have you ever been accused of acting like a know-it-all? Are you receptive to new ideas or would you rather stick with the old?

Many people are risk adverse. They’ve tried risk, it is scary and often doesn’t end well. At least, that is what they’ll say.

Assessing Risk

People often weigh risk inappropriately. In the workplace their personal scale is off balance. They weigh the risk of personal discomfort as greater than needs of the team or organization.

When an employee has a great idea, he or she may be hesitant to mention it. If they have some information contrary to the CEO’s beliefs, they avoid the conversation. The risk of personal harm feels greater than the risk of speaking up and helping the organization avoid some certain disaster.

New ideas are often met with negative fantasies. The doom and gloom that you visualize seems far more real than the possibility of a better outcome.

This is often where instincts and gut feel gain traction.

Ideas that are not our own are a surefire way to invoke an assessment of probable outcomes. Some of those outcomes are rooted in negative fantasies. The assumed pending doom feels more real, than the likely actual outcome.

When we lack new ideas or new outlooks, we’re stuck. New ideas are different, that doesn’t necessarily make them wrong.

Getting to New Ideas

Being a know-it-all, or accusing someone of the same is sometimes a hint that new ideas are not welcome.

If everything seems to be perfect, goals are being met, professional growth is good, and the organization you work for is growing then for the moment it is probably OK to steer clear of any new ideas.

For everyone else, new ideas may be exactly what you need to explore.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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gut feel

Can You Improve Your Gut Feel?

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I asked the question, “Do you ever follow your gut?” Whenever I ask this in a seminar I get many heads nodding to the positive. A gut feel is an interesting dynamic, is it correct? Can you improve your gut feel?

Our instincts are powerful, but are they really instincts or lessons learned? Touch a hot stove and we learn to fear it. Is that instinctual?

Judgment Call

Meet someone for the first time and we may pass judgment. We look at clothing, hairstyle, and shoes. We listen for language, slang, and education. Sometimes we assess the location, the time of day, or the car they drive. Are we making our determination based on our gut or stereotypes and bias?

People will often suggest that sometimes you have to go with your gut. Is going with your gut a skill? Does it get better over time?

Perhaps we can learn to train our gut. We can examine stereotypes, biases, and affirmations. Will this examination lead to developing the skills that give us a competitive edge? It probably can, but it could also invite false perceptions.

In fact, this examination could lead to a self-fulfilled prophecy. Our gut tells us something is wrong and sure enough, we find things that go wrong. Instincts suggest the new product isn’t ready for market and sure enough sales are slow.

Improve Your Gut

If you want to train your gut or improve your instincts you’ll need to approach it with an unbiased mind and carefully examine the results.

What should you do? You may consider:

  • watching sports and picking the winners;
  • observing the new employee and predicting his or her organizational fit;
  • and, privately assessing the outcomes of meetings, decisions, and the path for new directions.

You should commit to your gut, write it down, observe the outcomes and mindfully note your success. Do this again and again. Establish some data.

Are you getting better, worse, or is your success staying about the same? Ask yourself, “What is the best predictor of future performance?” The likely answer is past performance. When you don’t know the past performance you go with your gut.

Gut Feel

Our gut feel and instincts are important but chances are that our true success in this area is conditioned by learning the behaviors, patterns, and predictable actions of the subject involved. If we don’t know past performance we assess what we do know and guess at the rest.

Sometimes our gut feel is really just an assessment of the data we’ve stored over time. It may include our attitude towards the situation.

At least that is what my gut tells me.

– DEG

Originally posted on January 16, 2018, last updated on November 24, 2020.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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