Making Sense. Intelligent Intuition.

Thinking has been promoted to the top position in organisations. But will it survive on its own in an unpredictable and complex environment where ‘how we have done things before’ will not work? Our feeling says: “No, not quite”. How about linking it with intuition and sensing what is emerging in the future? What if we would marry the best of both worlds? We stand up for building a bridge between ratio and intuition in the business environment. We stand up for using intelligent intuition.

As The Board Whisperers, we help organisations foster a culture where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured. Where people learn together. Our intent is help leaders and organisations transition to a more integrated work style which makes routine interactions meaningful and creates an active culture where everyone participates.

As in Peter Senge’s words: “A learning organization creates a community where the team learns together and shares the same vision. It creates interconnected thinking so everyone is on the same wavelength with ingenuity, flexibility, ability to think forward and innovate and adapt to new systems.” (1990).

What is intuition anyway?

Intuition is another way of knowing. As per Bernstein (2005), it is knowing without knowing how you came to know. The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. Depending on the situation, intuition may come to you directly or indirectly, through one of the five senses, in dreams, day-dreams, thought processes, creative endeavors or by quieting your busy, logical mind. Intuition describes a wide variety of ways you get information without using known logical or rational processes. Some describe this as an instinctive knowing, in the zone experience or an “Aha! Experience”. While our intuition might not always be the most trustworthy data source, we can develop our intuitive skills to increase its usefulness. Practicing these skills helps us identify, integrate, apply and assess our intuitive experiences.

Intelligent Intuition

Using intelligent intuition comes with awareness. On one hand, we give meaning using our intuition, checking the outcome with our mind. On the other hand, we do the opposite: when we are in the analytical or rational space, we stop and turn to our intuition to check whether our take on the situation makes sense. In our work with organisations, we work with leaders using both ends of the spectrum: feeling and thinking. We play with polarities, also connecting left brain and right brain. Being conscious of this and learning when to use which side is where it starts.

“Intelligent intuition helps leaders create a safe space for knowledge and emotional exchange.” — Daphne Laan & Sonja Wekema

We discovered that intelligent intuition is a balance between reason and emotion, sensing, feeling what’s going on. By doing so you can tune into what is emerging in the future, rather than a prediction based on the past. For us it is a natural tendency to translate what is beneath the surface. In other words it is a strongly developed sensing capacity.

This is in line with Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman’s take on decision making. According to him, people make decisions based on their first gut impression in most cases. His advice in these situations is: “Delay your intuition. Slow down, sleep on it and break the problem into smaller parts.” (2021).

“You should inform your gut and then trust it.” – Daniel Kahneman

How to marry knowledge with intuition?

When we launched The Board Whisperers, we wanted to develop a joint vision on how we are wired to advise others from a solid and grounded foundation. We asked ourselves the questions: how do we look at the world, at organisations and at people? And what is our way of doing that? With the help of our external partner Owtcome, we explored our personal and combined ‘algorithms’ and noticed that we combine both our analytical mind with our feeling and intuition in a special way.

Instead of focusing solely on our intellect or intuition, we connect them depending on the situation, calling it intellectual intuition. Combining knowledge and experience is our foundation of intuition. When you train yourself to use these two sides of the coin, using your intuitive intelligence eventually will become your second nature.

This is what we found to be helpful in further developing intelligent intuition as a skillset:

1. Purposeful patience.
Quiet your busy, logical mind. Do not act from a place of control but accept that things take time to come to fruition.

2. Zoom in to zoom out.
By zooming in and zooming out fully, you create a vast space in between to make sense.

3. Play with polarities.
Life is not either or. When you allow space for both poles to exist, the solution you arrive at will be more multi-dimensional.

4. Connecting the dots, visible and invisible.
Everyone has different perspectives, beliefs, values and desired. Understanding your own and the ones of the people around you, will help you raise awareness and make better decisions.

5. Expect the unexpected.
The more you are wired to expect the unexpected and the more you can just tune in to what emerges, the more you will trust that helpful ‘things’ will appear on your path.

So called synchronicities started appearing when we started working together, especially when we keep close to our heartfelt mission. The more you trust it, the stronger your intuition will be. It will speed up and enhance deep decision making using both the left and the right brain and connecting head with heart.