Intuition

Knowing without knowing how you know: Intuition. Our own sixth sense is hugely valuable for helping us to make better decisions about everything we do in life and  business.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.
– Albert Einstein

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Urgency vs importance

Question: What’s more important? Urgent tasks or important tasks? Recently, I had a thought provoking discussion with a business leader who shared with me her thoughts on this. And it made me think.

Everyone wants things instantly and a lot of us confuse urgent with important.

But actually, ‘urgent’ is important in the short run, ‘important’ is important in the long run. A leader needs to keep the long-term vision in front of their eyes all the time when making business decisions.

If you keep focusing on urgent tasks, you’ll be constantly firefighting. Instead, why not take the lighter out of the hands of those who light those fires?

In business, delegating urgent tasks and focusing on the important ones is the responsibility of a good leader.

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The edge

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

– Guillaume Apollinaire

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Decision, decision

Life is complex, hardly anything is black and white.

So when it comes to decision making in business, I’d say that there’s no such thing as a bad decision either.  There’s a list of both positive and negative outcomes from every single decision, and we just need to weigh up one against the other to set the right balance in that exact moment. One thing is certain: there’s things to learn from every single decision.

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Facts and opinions

Can you distinguish between a fact and an opinion? All too often, we fall into the trap of taking even our own opinions as facts …

Let’s remind ourselves:

A fact is a statement that can be proven true or false. It’s black or white, yes or no. It’s something that either happened or did not happen. That’s a fact.

An opinion is an expression of a person’s feelings. It’s how we think about a fact. It always holds an element of belief, it’s subjective.

When we see new ideas, when we encounter new situations, new challenges, new behaviours, it’s all too easy to judge and jump to conclusions. We may focus on the trivial, and ignore information that doesn’t support our view of the world.

However, when we take our ‘glasses’ off and open our minds, we may see a lot clearer, and can change our perspective completely.

When we are closed to ideas, what we hear is criticism. When we are open to criticism, what we hear is advice. /Simon Sinek/

Not many people are willing to suspend their views and beliefs to fully hear the views of those with which they disagree.

Everything we do, feel or want is influenced by our own thinking. But once we’re able to challenge our very own thinking, that’s when we’ll be able to make better choices and set ourselves up for growth and improvement.

Encouraging critical thinking and radical openness is key to building a well-functioning, thriving human business.

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Conflicts are essential

Listening to Ray Dalio’s Principles on Audible, I feel that he gives voice to so many things I do instinctively in business and team building.

Most recently, his thoughts about conflicts touched a chord with me. I like constructive disagreement and believe that conflicts are essential for great relationships.

Here’s Ray Dalio’s take on this:

“Recognize that conflicts are essential for great relationships because they are how people determine whether their principles are aligned and resolve their differences. Everyone has his or her own principles and values, so all relationships entail a certain amount of negotiation or debate over how people should be with each other.  What you learn about each other will either draw you together or drive you apart. If your principles are aligned and you can work out your differences via a process of give-and-take, you will draw closer together. If not, you will move apart. Open discussion of differences ensures that there are no misunderstandings. If that doesn’t happen on an ongoing basis, gaps in perspective will widen until inevitably there is a major clash.”

I’m in agreement with Dalio that spending on the time and energy to get in sync with colleagues and partners is the best investment we can make. In my experience, once people know how to express their views assertively, in a way that won’t cross boundaries, honesty becomes the norm, people start to feel aligned with themselves and are more open to ideas and criticism.

When we manage to create a culture where disagreements are encouraged, people become more willing to learn from each other, and the team is on a way to success.

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