A hallmark of the best top managers I have met and know has always been – and still is – that they are guided by their intuition. Based on this, they´d decide which move they believed to be the right one, and then analyses confirm or disprove their assumption. If their intuition is well-developed, more often than not it is confirmed.
A new year has just started. Do you dare to trust your intuition? Do you dare not to? Do you listen to yourself and others enough before you act on a decision?
One of the most prominent features among top leaders, i.e. people tasked with making the final decision both ethically and commercially, is due care, or as we say in Danish, ‘rettidig omhu.’ Made popular by the late Danish shipping magnate, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, the term describes the delicate balance between knowing when you can and should act. It can be in relation to a competitor, a new pricing structure, an organizational change or replacing a ‘next liner’ before the consequences mount. It can be to proactively take over from the people closest to you when they need a helping hand and make decisions for them if their decision-making abilities temporarily fail them. It can also be knowing when it is time to move on to the next job.
Due care is a sophisticated finesse and an ability to manage others by first and foremost being able to manage yourself. The more you manage yourself, the more developed your intuition becomes, as it gets more room to maneuver. It is not drowned out by too much noise – it gets its own voice. In that way, geographical distance no longer needs to be an obstacle. If you for example feel that there are challenges abroad that need to be addressed personally – whether it’s an announcement that needs revisiting or a candidate is being hired that may not be the right fit, there is definitely a natural reason that should make you stop and give yourself more time. If care is not taken, you risk not acting in time.
Previously, when I worked with top talents and advised them, one piece of advice that I gave them was to take a monthly day offline; a day when they did anything but work. One person went fishing with his dad, another went for a long run, a third one played golf, a fourth cooked, and a fifth spent quality time with the family. The next day they were mentally at their best again, ready for new challenges. Their minds had had a break and been diverted towards something that gave them energy and where self-management was key. It gave them space and made room for their intuition’s inner voice. Their managerial performance was strengthened.
By giving yourself this mental break in time, you can maintain balance and an overview, which is a great advantage. It is completely individual what gives you strength and awareness in the best way. What is most important is that you hold the key to it and control it.
Because once you give up control of crucial due care and lose the ability to self-manage, the one thing that must not happen, will happen: You start negotiating with your intuition and only listen selectively. And then decisions are solely based on other people’s counseling, the black and white calculations of the Excel sheet and the ego’s willfulness. Success becomes ‘trial and error’ and continuity ceases to exist.
I wish for 2017 to be the year of intuition. The year in which we do not dare to NOT listen to ourselves and no longer allow the noise from outside to drown out the things our own sense and wisdom wish to enrich us with. I wish for all of us to dare to act proactively on to what our intuition shows, or as a minimum uncover the truth value on a continuous basis. Finally, I wish for all of us to dare to encourage the people closest to us to do the same.
Our intuition can give us insights we consciously or unconsciously might rather be without. On the other hand, it can give us space for action that would be significantly reduced if we let go of due care.
Founder of the Global Voices project. Belongingness officer and an experienced People Executive.