It concerns me that business leaders are investing so much time and money into analyzing huge amounts of data for decision making, while at the same time ignoring our innate abilities to make wiser decisions. Business Intelligence initiatives are commanding millions of dollars in most large companies, where leaders believe the holy grail of making wise decisions is to make them all fact-based, or data-based, by analyzing such things as customer transactions and employee performance. As an IT leader by trade, I understand the value of data, but I’m concerned that we’re ignoring a huge part of our human potential. We have the ability to perceive at a more profound level through intuition and would benefit from putting more effort into understanding and honing this skill.
Scientists have proven that we’re able to read the emotions of other people, which can help us make better decisions about how to provide the best service to customers or where to focus our management time. There’s also credible evidence that we’re able to intuit information about future events. Consider the results of numerous controlled experiments.
From the 1930’s, there have been recorded experiments to determine if people have knowledge of future events. The experiments have taken many forms over the years. Some tested a subject’s ability to guess a playing card before it was pulled from a deck, and after the advent of computers, the experiments were more likely to test a subject’s ability to guess the symbols that were going to appear on a computer screen. In 1989, two researchers, Charles Honorton and Dianne Ferrari, performed a meta-analysis by gathering all the controlled experiments that had been conducted over the previous fifty years. In total, there were about fifty thousand test subjects and 2 million trials. The researchers found that 62 scientists had found proof that subjects could substantially predict future events at a rate greater than chance. Taking into account all of the studies, the odds that the results were due to chance was 10 million billion billion to one.
We’re finding out so much about the power of our emotions. In previous articles, I’ve presented evidence that we can read the emotions of other people. There’s also evidence that our emotions gear up for future events. Consider experimentation conducted by the American parapsychologist Dean Radin and his colleagues at the University of Nevada. They used the fact that the electrical activity of human skin is impacted by the emotional state of test subjects, and the variation in the electrical activity that is conducted by the skin can be measured and charted. As a person’s emotions change due to exposure to emotionally charged words or pictures, the electricity conducted by their skin changes measurably. Radin and his colleagues used emotionally charged photos to determine if a person’s skin would show a reaction to future events.
The researchers measured the electrical conductivity of the skin of test subjects as they clicked through a series of photographs displayed on a computer screen. Most of the images were beautiful scenes of nature, but there were a few photos of dead bodies or pornography interspersed. The computer randomly picked the next image from a large database and would display a blank screen for five seconds before showing an image for three seconds. The experiments revealed that three to four seconds prior to the disturbing images being displayed, the subjects would have a noticeable change in their skin response. This kind of reaction was not present prior to the beautiful images being displayed. These kinds of experiments have been replicated successfully by other universities.
These intuitive abilities can probably be explained by what physicists say about time being only an illusion and that the past, present and future are all really happening now. I don’t claim to know how it works, but the fact that it does work tells me we should pay more attention to our intuitive abilities. It reminds me of my experiences in deciding which IT projects to pursue. In determining which projects to fund during a budget year, we would gather endless data about the return-on-investment and the readiness of the targeted users. We would create huge spreadsheets to rate and rank each project and come up with overall scores for decision making. But every time we made decisions that didn’t feel right, they didn’t turn out well, even though all the data pointed to them being right. Business Intelligence will never be able to give us this type of insight on highly complex, human dependent, business alternatives.
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share