Archive for the ‘Negotiation Skills’ Category

Should you trust your intuition?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Recently a client was in a final interview and planning to make a senior  job offer to a highly suitable candidate.  Everything appeared to be going well, except that my client suddenly  became aware of a growing sense of uneasiness about the preferred candidate.

Follow up on that intuition

 They had conducted extensive interviews with the person; the referees were all glowing; when my client checked back with the rest of the recruitment panel they couldn’t understand his sudden wariness…but unease it was. Should he insist on pulling back, when up till then everything had checked out well; or should he trust their thorough process?

We discussed what had  happened at the two or three points when he got his gut feel. The comments were: ‘Oh, there was some  slightly negative body language in the candidate that didn’t align with what was being said…nothing much really…’  ‘Later on, I guess I just wondered whether the candidate would be as committed as we thought.  I don’t know why’  

We could call that unease ‘intuition’, but was it?  Gut feel or whatever you call it, I have learnt in positive and negative ways the value of trusting it.  Some years ago a searing recruitment experience decided me that if I ever felt a deep unease that didn’t relate to the evidence, I would at least carefully follow up on that unease.  In my coaching of a very wide range of people, I have found awareness of my intuition to be a very reliable indicator of what is really going on.

 I am very suspicious of ethereal versions of ‘intuition’.  I suspect so-called ‘intuition is just a bunch of minute clues that only we pick up subconsciously – then they build until we notice them as intuition. For more explanation of this, check out: Lifehack.  

If we define intuition as ‘perceptive insight’,  there some useful things for a practical person to tune into:

  1. In an intense discussion, we unconsciously pick up very subtle changes in facial expression, skin colouration and nuance of tone.  These are only minute clues until they cluster around a stronger general impression that we then experience as ‘unease’.  Don’t jump to conclusions, but trust the feeling and follow up on your concerns.
  2. When you notice a gap between the message communicated in the body language and the message in the words, look carefully at that gap. There are a lot of unsubstantiated claims about the messaging in body language, but research warns us to be alert around this type of misalignment.
  3. We also bring to the communication our experience in similar situations.  A relevant but past experience might be almost forgotten yet still trigger an alarm bells in the present. When we think about it afterwards, we will usually remember exactly what that experience was…and its lesson!

Obviously you have to observe the other person very carefully. The weird thing is though, that  to develop your perceptive insight, you have to listen very carefully to yourself.  Be  very alert to your own reactions.  Trust them. Don’t jump to conclusions, but do follow up on your instinct, by asking questions.

 There are some really good tips on listening to your own awareness at a blog with the appealing name of: hellomynameisblog  

So what happened in client’s case?   He decided to insist that the panel take the time to check up on his concerns. Having taken legal advice, they went back to the referees and that turned out to be a very good move.  Put briefly: They re-advertised!

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