Sunday, July 12, 2009

Emotional Intelligence and Intuition

Lately, I’ve been thinking about intuition and Emotional Intelligence. Writers such as Malcolm Gladwell and António Damasio have explored how “hunches” come from unconscious processes that involve our emotional brain. These intuitions provide extremely valuable information. Emotional Intelligence helps enhance this faculty.

Here’s a lengthy quote from Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline, on this subject.

Bilateralism is a design principle underlying the evolution of advanced
organisms. Nature seems to have learned to design in pairs; it not only builds
in redundancy but achieves capabilities not possible otherwise. Two legs are
critical for rapid, flexible locomotion. Two arms and hands are vital for
climbing, lifting, and manipulating objects. Two eyes give us stereoscopic
vision, and along with two ears, depth perception. Is it not possible
that, following the same design principle, reason and intuition are designed to
work in harmony for us to achieve our potential intelligence?

Systems thinking may hold a key to integrating reason and intuition. Intuition eludes the grasp of linear thinking, with its exclusive emphasis on cause and effect that are close in time and space. The result is that most of our intuitions don't make 'sense' - that is, they can't be explained in terms of linear logic.

Very often, experienced managers have rich intuitions about complex systems, which they cannot explain. Their intuitions tell them that cause and effect are not close in time and space, that obvious solutions will produce more harm than good, and that
short-term fixes produce long-term problems. But they cannot explain their
ideas in simple linear cause-effect language. They end up saying, 'Just do
it this way. It will work.'

As managers gain facility with systems thinking as an alternative language, they find that many of their intuitions become explicable. Eventually, reintegrating reason and intuition may prove to be one of the primary contributions of systems thinking.

How do you unite reason and intuition?

1 comment:

  1. An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Karim - Mind Power