Instinct vs. Insight

 In Accounting, Business

Go with your gut…Trust your instinct…Follow your inner voice…

Those phrases are all great in their own right (and at the right time). However, in business, instinct isn’t always the only factor in smart decision making. By all means, there isn’t a lot that can replace real experience or time spent in the trenches. But when it comes to making wise choices that affect a venture’s future or strategy, insight in the form of data, statistics, and reporting are far from insignificant either.

As reported in by Neil Amato in CGMA Magazine via an Economist Intelligence Unit survey, just 32% of executives describe their decision making processes as data-drvien. But in today’s age, access to data is readily available to businesses both large and small. That same data, paired with a little gut feeling, can go a long way in improving strategic planning. The survey report offers several steps to consider when incorporating data into the decision-making process:

  1. Keep an open mind. Data analysis is not limited to recurring decisions, the report says. This analysis can be used for a single decision, such as identifying a potential target for a merger or acquisition.
  2. Unlock existing insights. Data do not have to be new to be useful; the report says that previously siloed data can lead to fresh insight.
  3. Understand inherent bias. Using your gut means a view slanted to your way of thinking. “Get to know what lies behind your dashboard,” the report says.
  4. Invest in talent. Provide a foundation of data analysis to existing employees before hiring new data scientists.
  5. Take the lead on accountability. Be clear about who has decision-making rights, the report says. Providing more access to data can allow decisions to be challenged.

So with those ideas in mind, either use the data already on hand or take advantage of today’s available solutions that collect that data for you, and pair it with a little instinct for an even stronger stance. Because while experience is irreplaceable, experience and data together are a tough combo to battle.

“Experience and intuition and the use of data and analytics are not mutually exclusive. The challenge for business is how best to marry the two.”

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