Intuition over Intelligence

I stumbled across this interesting post this morning which re-affirmed a believe I’ve held for a long time and which most small business owners/managers probably know very well.  The article summarized a report that studied CEOs from some of the largest companies in Britain.  It found that many of them (7 out of 10) cited their experience in team sports as positively influencing their career.  It goes on to point out that a majority of those were far more successful on the sports field than in the classroom.

The study goes on to say that this team sports experience has honed the skills of these CEOs to be more intuitive rather than intellectual thinkers.  In other words, they rely on their intuition, gut, and past experience rather than any theory they learned in school.

I would definitely agree, especially for small businesses, that a majority of decisions are made from intuition, as I think they should be.  I can also see how team sport activities would greatly improve certain skills that are key to being a good CEO.  Good CEOs must be good leaders and must be self-confident.  Team sports definitely build both of those skills.  On top of all of this, I do think schooling is very important as well.  While team sports help build your leadership skills and self-confidence, schooling will help build your base of knowledge on which your intuition will draw.  So I definitely don’t think this study is trying to say school is not important, it is just stressing the fact that intuition and logic very often play a much greater role in business decision making than theory does.  But you need to have a wide base of knowledge and experience for your intuition to come to the right conclusions.

So what does this mean for future generations?  If we want our children to be successful, what should we do?  I think it’s pretty obvious…in addition to making sure they are working hard at their classes, we should also make sure they are involved in more than just studies alone.  We should encourage them to get involved with team activities (be they sports or other types of teams) that encourage building leadership and communication skills.

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