My earliest interest in leadership and management was around the topic of decision-making and success. Why do some people need lots of information – and even then don’t take decisions? Why do some leaders move forward on the basis of very little information?
I first began to understand intuition in action when working on a consulting project for a specialist hospital in south-west England. Head Injury patients were recovering from surgery and the nurses reported their observations of very subtle signs and signals from the patients. They believed they saw a correlation between these early signs and later recovery (or lack of it).
Malcolm Gladwell explored this further in his book ‘Blink’, where he described the impact of seeing repeating patterns – either in behaviour or inanimate objects, such as the sculptures at the Getty Museum. An expert in the field will know, in the blink of an eye, whether the work is genuine or a fake. Just as the nurse can tell by the blink of an eye, whether the patient will walk, talk and return to work.