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Friday, February 16, 2007

Sleeping on it

One of the most important elements in business decision-making is intuition -- the sixth sense based on gut feel, first impressions, subtle cues and seemingly irrational associations.
These can often be wrong -- many times they are framed on pre-existing prejudices and assumptions and, because these assumptions are so ingrained in our minds, they overtake fairer assessments.

Yet we ignore these feelings to our peril because, especially if we have specialized knowledge or experience, the sixth sense can in fact be the most subtle warning sign available to us. And that sixth sense is truly troubling me now on a decision I am about to make.

The economic cost of a wrong decision here is not that high (but it won't be insignificant). Theoretically the potential advantages are good. The person we are thinking of working with has passed all the tests in our evaluation cycle, but one. (And there can be good reasons external to the person for the seemingly poor results here.)

But, and here is the challenge, when I wake up, I keep hearing internal warning signs; the sixth sense is telling me, don't do this -- keep looking, be patient, don't rush it.

My conclusion: A compromise. Propose another very short term assignment with clear (and reasonable) goals and objectives. I realize this puts a lot of pressure in a short time on the candidate, and he can rightfully decline, but the test will determine whether it is right to carry forward -- and success with this extra test will validate both my intuition and the candidate's potential.

See this link from Fast Company magazine's website on the topic:

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