There are many situations in which your employees should be the first, and perhaps the only, people you listen to. “But sometimes you'll be able to see more of the forest through the trees than they can,” says Joshua Dziabiak, COO and co-founder of The Zebra, a real-time digital insurance comparison platform.
“Don’t be afraid to disagree with your employees if your gut sounds an alarm about an idea they have,” he adds. “It’s not about ego; it’s about knowing your business inside and out.”
But many corporate executives have trouble trusting their own instincts.
“By definition, intuition is about knowing something without being able to explain the rational reasons why you know it,” Dziabiak explains. “That’s why people sometimes have a hard time relying on it. But I’ve found it so important in business.”
Here are two specific situations where he says you should always listen to your gut:
In a candidate interview. “Sometimes everything looks right on paper, but something just seems off,” Dziabiak says. “Or, one of your colleagues likes a candidate, but when you sit down for a second interview, they rub you the wrong way.” It doesn’t make any sense to ignore your emotional reaction or instinct just because someone is technically qualified, or one of your employees doesn’t have that same instinct. “Across the companies I’ve owned, the only hiring decisions I’ve regretted have been those where I didn’t listen to my instinct,” he says.
When choosing your investors. They have the money, but do they have the ability to leave you feeling inspired after meeting with them? “For me, I want to feel like I’d enjoy having a drink with an investor while chatting about something other than business,” Dziabiak says. “Again, without paying attention to the emotional transactions and patterns in business, we’d all be computers. Emotional instinct is what makes us human — and often what decides whether we succeed or fail in business.”
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