Most of us would like to think that we should trust our intuition, but should we? Learn how to use the REF method as your personal intuition referee to help you and your team know whether to trust your intuition.
- How much do you trust your intuition? Research indicates that people trust their intuition a lot, even when they shouldn't. Intuition is thinking you know something without relying on conscious reasoning. Since critical thinking is conscious reasoning, this makes intuition tricky as a reliable, critical thinking tool. When making decisions, how do you know when to trust your intuition? According to behavioral economists, Kahneman and Klein, intuition is sneaky because it arises with or without the three conditions required for it to actually be reliable. The three conditions are REF, regularity, exposure, and feedback. Use REF like you're personal intuition referee to assess whether or not to trust your intuition. Let's say you're deciding who to hire, how best to announce a reorganization, or whether to move manufacturing to a different country. A lot of things go into these decisions, but should one of them be your intuition? If the regularity, exposure, and feedback are in place, yes. If not, no. Your situation must have regularity, like a chess game or if you're a seasoned leader announcing the annual reorganization at the quarterly all-company meeting, or if you're judging your boss's mood during your daily call, not if you meet the job candidate in the gym while on vacation, not when interviewing a candidate for a newly created job, not when all-company meetings are rare, and not when reorganizations are rare. You also need a lot of exposure to the regular situation, like a chess master's exposure to chess, or if you're a seasoned leader who presents at company meetings all the time, or you're an experienced HR professional interviewing a candidate for a job, not like an inexperienced HR associate interviewing potential hires, not if you're a new leader presenting at the annual meeting for the first time, not a person new to chess. There's just not enough exposure in these situations. Feedback, you must have a short time between your intuition or guess and feedback, like after a chess move, or when you get a huge laugh after making a joke at the company meeting or hear gasps after announcing a reorganization. The feedback on most important decisions takes too long and this means you probably don't want to rely on intuition for important decisions. For example, if it's revealed that moving manufacturing to Vietnam last year was profitable this year, that's not a tight enough feedback loop. Pro tip, what's not one of the three conditions, confidence. Your confidence and your intuition doesn't make it reliable. If you're thinking that there are many types of decisions where intuition should not be relied on, you're right. So, when you have decisions to make, use your intuition REF. Assess whether it involves a regular situation with which you've had a lot of exposure, that has provided rapid feedback to indicate whether you're past intuitions were right or wrong. If so, trust your intuition. If not, don't.
- Comparing critical and strategic thinking
- Minimizing bad judgements
- Recognizing cognitive bias
- Using counterfactual thinking
- Overcoming loss aversion
- Avoiding logical fallacies
- Creating a culture of critical thinking