The Change Manifesto – Trusting yourself in turbulent times

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At every level it is hard to deny that their is change in the air. Its happening at an international, national and local level. If you are running a small business now there is a lot of things moving and changing. 

So this week I am writing five short blogs, one a day, looking at how we perceive and respond to change as business leaders. I’m be drawing on some client stories and some personal lessons. All with the intention of getting you to explore how you will choose to show up in the face of the changes coming for you. 

Today we look at the role of intuition in business decisions making. 

Change: the enemy that isn’t

I love change and am always trying new things. I enjoy throwing all the cards in the air and starting again. Sometimes this has served me well and sometimes it has been a disaster.  Even as a lover of change I still get the uncomfortable feeling that accompanies anything new and unfamiliar. 

Our neurology is designed to ensure we notice the unfamiliar, because  it may pose a threat to us. Whilst you won’t always be consciously aware you are always noticing anything that is different to the patterns we are used to seeing. The way your neurology alerts you is often through a felt experience; literally a sensation in the body. You might refer to is as your ‘gut feel’ or your spider senses. 

But there is also a lot of pollution in the system; noise that interrupts us from either being able to access our intuition, or from formulating a high quality commercial responses whatever is being thrown at us. I refer to this white noise as your personal myth. This is the story you tell yourself about yourself and about the world. 

The biggest white noise in my own career was impostor syndrome; a pervasive sense that I wasn’t clever enough or that, at some point, I would be caught out. I was only free’d from this sense completely about five years ago. In many ways its a miracle that I went from a Civil Service tea boy to Director of Financial Operations in one of the biggest UK mobile phone companies. 

The internal guidance system

My career was subject to a lot of constant change as I felt my way forward, trying to find out what it was I really wanted to be doing. It was a journey that took me through eleven organisations (including eight FTSE100’s) and sixteen different roles.

Over the last few years I’ve invested a lot of time looking back over the course of my entire career, and life. I wanted to understand how I made the decisions that turned out to be the good ones and the clunkers. I wanted to understand how intuition works for me. 

Most of us will hold a model of how things work that hopes for one of two opposite answers:

The rationalist – It was only when I rationally made a decision and considered all the facts that it turned out to be a good one
The unicorn – It was only when I trusted my intuition above everything that decisions go well

It didn’t turn out that black and white. In fact it was a combination of the two that drove good quality decisions. When I recognised and challenged the source of my ‘gut feelings’ I made better quality decisions. In fact I’d go to say that my intuition didn’t hold the answers, but it certainly flagged up the right questions. 

One thing was for sure though. Whenever I didn’t go with, or explore the source of, that gut feeling it normally bit me in the arse at some point. 

So my advice is, recognise the significance of your gut feeling. It is no accident that it is present. by all means recognise and use your gut feel. But at the same time keep your eyes on your numbers, keep talking to your customers and team members. If in doubt collect more data!!!!!! 

Whats been your experience with the major decisions you’ve taken in your business? An understanding of how you have historically made decisions can inform you in the turbulent and changing times ahead. 

If you are ready to really explore how to move yourself, your team and your company forward then you need to book yourself in to my ‘Breakfast and Breakthroughs’. You’ll get a much firmer grip on what it is you are truly shooting for and more importantly an understanding of what is really holding you back. Email me at dave@sleepingtiger.co.uk and we’ll ping you details of the next event.

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