Instinct? Facts? What’s the Best Business Guide?
Many years ago (more than I care to admit) I started out as a young entrepreneur.
My business offered aviation charter and training services. After a couple of years I’d reached the point of hiring a salesman. Jack (not his real name) was quite effective in promoting our business.
Up to the time of this episode, we’d mostly been carrying freight. We were dabbling in the passenger side of the business and wanted to do more. We needed a more attractive airplane than we had at that time. Since we couldn’t afford new, we researched what was available for what price in used airplanes.
We settled on a particular type of airplane we wanted. Jack started promoting that airplane to prospects. After a few weeks, we found an example of the type we wanted at a good price.
Investigation revealed some flaws with the airplane. I decided its good price would leave us room to correct the problems we found, and we bought it.
That decision turned out to be the most expensive mistake I’d make. It was likely the biggest factor in the ultimate failure of our business. I won’t bore you with all the details. Suffice it to say my intuition, as well as some hard facts, told us to leave it alone. Jack’s success in promoting the aircraft pressured me to override all that. We bought an airplane we never should have owned.
Joe Scarlett was CEO of Tractor Supply Company for many years. He relates that he made some decisions that facts fully supported. Despite his intuition saying “Don’t do it.”, he did. He wished later he’d paid more attention to “that small voice”. Joe recommends we always listen to our “gut”.
We gather experience throughout our lives. In considering a particular decision we gather facts for a few days, weeks, or months. Sometimes our experience tells us the facts are leading us to the wrong decision. Likely the subconscious memories in our experience are guiding us well.
At the very least, we should carefully review the facts before we go where they lead us. This is a great example of where consultation with others can be invaluable. Others’ experience, view of the facts, and sense of urgency in moving ahead, will differ from yours. Listen and consider!
Here’s an article I wrote last year quoting Jessica Stillman. She’s OK with intuition…sometimes!
About to make a decision with a significant impact on your success? Best to consider the ideas these articles offer. I hope you find them valuable.
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