Tag Archives: instincts

  • -
workplace instincts

Workplace Instincts and Honing Your Craft

Tags : 

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.


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.

  • -
report data

Does Report Data Stand On Its Own?

Tags : 

Have you examined the report data? Does it make sense, does it add up? Can it stand on its own?

Not without a story.

You’ve Been Informed

The technical conference wouldn’t really be a conference if the data could stand on its own. Everyone would just get the report and everyone would be informed.

Information overload feels like a chronic problem to many people. So much data and so little time for the empathy required to make sense of it all.

Stories change that for us. It changes it for you, and it changes it for me.

People often wonder, “What’s in it for me?”

That is precisely why data doesn’t stand on its own. Data needs a narrative, an executive overview, or a deep story to put it all into perspective.

Certainly, the story guides the belief and the future outcomes. It is a slippery slope when you consider how bias or stereotyping affects the story. Then the data may also come into question.

Data may be reliable, yet is it always valid? Consistent data doesn’t guarantee it is authentic, accurate, or valid.

Report Data

The information we receive is always brought to life through a story. The authenticity or belief behind the narrative guides the thoughts and opinions of those receiving the information.

Is this brainwashing? Someone may suggest, yes, it is. Others will argue that it is merely a presentation of the facts.

I guess it really depends on your personal narrative. What is the story that you tell yourself? What do you choose to believe?

Does your “gut feel” have something to do with your life experiences? Some will label it as instinct. Yet, what we know as instinct is also rooted in life experiences. Touch the fire, you’ll get burnt.

Report data doesn’t stand on its own. It is the narrative in front of the data that suggests how you’ll interpret its value or meaning.

Honest, unbiased observation is the key for the integrity of the data. It develops from the story.


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.

  • -
gut feel

Can You Improve Your Gut Feel?

Tags : 

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.


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.

  • 4

Are Your Decisions Based On Instinct Or Gut Feel?

Tags : 

Have you ever asked your family what they would like to eat for dinner and no one can decide? We make a lot of decisions every day, but sometimes we have to consult something inside ourselves to feel like we’re making the best choice. Do you believe that those decisions are based on instinct or are they more of a gut feel?

Instinct Decisions

We’ve all faced tough choices and sometimes we just don’t know who to ask in order to gain additional insight. Sometimes we ask others who we know will most likely answer one way or another, and we do that to improve our confidence or to feel better about a tough choice. In other situations we might avoid asking someone we know because we believe they will give an answer that deep inside we really don’t want to hear.

Have you ever asked someone, “What does your gut tell you?”


Instinct, as being referenced here and perhaps by formal definition is connecting your thoughts to what comes natural or feels natural with some specific direction for a choice. It can be illustrated by considering something simple, for example, when you feel hungry you might make a choice to eat. Another example could be when you hear (hearing is instinctual) someone speaking you make a choice to listen, or not.

Gut Feel

Gut feel is different because it might suggest that there are other factors involved in making the decision or choice. Sometimes these factors are conditioned by emotions and because we have feelings connected with those factors we label that decision as coming from having a gut feel. Some people may associate the concept of gut feel to the idea of following your head, or your heart.

Business Case

Imagine you’re at your job and you’re confronted with a tough choice. You may have ethical concerns, integrity complications, or you worry that the choice you make could in some way affect the future for yourself or the organization. Will you make the decision based on instinct or gut feel?  In business many believe that you should leave your emotions out of it. Business is business and there is not any room for emotional issues. However, much of the business that we do is strongly based on emotional choices. We do something because we believe in it, we have passion about it, and it makes us feel good. I see a lot of emotion connected with business and that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

Critical Thinking

When we are facing tough choices it is often helpful for us to think more critically, analyze the data, deal with facts, and look for patterns. Some people like to expedite decisions while others prefer to drag them out, over analyze, or procrastinate. Sometimes if we ask what led to the final decision someone will say they used their instincts to guide the choice, or they did it by gut feel.

Decisions based on what we might label as instinct or gut feel are often very risky choices. People can sometimes develop strong beliefs based on perception or data that is not accurate. As people we collect more life experiences, some of them good, and some of them not so good. Over time we start to trend that data, based specifically on our own life experiences. Sometimes this data becomes associated with what might be labeled as instinct or gut feel.

What about you, how do you make tough choices?


See also: Boomer Decisions, Millennial Decisions

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Upcoming Public Events

  1. Management and Leadership Certificate (Live, In-Person)

    September 21 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
  2. Webinar : Creating a Motivational Climate

    October 7 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
  3. Management and Leadership Certificate (Live, Virtual Training)

    October 12 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more