Often you have to rely on intuition. –Bill Gates

You can save time and money by developing your business intuition.

When we are able to use our creative problem solving skills on command we save both money and time.

Malcom Gladwell, the author of “Outliers” found that we become masters in our vocation once we have done it for at least 10,000. The time spent doing and learning and encountering many different situations becomes our “experience” bank that we can later draw upon.

After putting in this much time on one pursuit we develop a highly trained sense of what needs to be done in many situations because of our past experience. We solve problems more quickly when we encounter new situations because we can draw upon this past experience. We take from each of them what is applicable in the current scenario and apply it to come up with a new creative solution to the problem.

Seasoned pilots are better pilots

The seasoned individual with 10,000 hours of experience under their belt often times needs to merely listen to a scenario to “know” whether it will work or not. The experienced business owner can size up a job and instantly know how much time it will take and what it will cost in labor and parts. This same business owner knows whether a client is for real or just another “tire kicker.” He or she will also know what to do under extraordinary circumstances because of the experience they’ve garnered.

Think of how Captain Sullenberger’s years of experience came into play when he landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the waters of the freezing cold Hudson River on January 15, 2009? When the aircraft encountered a flock of birds that incapacitated the plane’s engines he had to “think” fast when the plane started losing altitude. Captain Sullenberger drew upon the many situations he’d piloted planes through in the past to quickly and effectively decide that the only way he would save the lives of the passengers and crew was to land on the Hudson River. A less experienced pilot probably would not have had such a perfect outcome. Captain “Sully’s” landing on the river was so perfect that it is referred to as the “miracle on the Hudson.”

Business Intuition is a highly targeted way of using the mind

When we come to a conclusion on what actions to take instantaneously, it’s not actually “thinking” in the sense that we are familiar with. It’s an intuitive response that takes place automatically once we have become experts in our field. This response has been labeled, “expert intuition” and it’s something you can develop and put to use in your own business.

As you amass more experience and become an expert in your profession you develop this sixth sense, what I call “business intuition,” that instantaneously comes into play when you need it, just like Captain Sullenberger.  It often happens so quickly that you seem to go on “autopilot.” While this type of expert intuition is blazing fast, it doesn’t always occur beneath the level of your conscious thinking process.

Firefighters and emergency personnel often encounter life or death situations. These accidents and disasters require instant assessments of the situation and lightning fast decisions in order to save lives. When later questioned about why they chose to handle the situation in a certain way they are able to recall what was going through their minds at the time and what factors led them to the decisions and choices they made.

Developing business intuition saves time and money

If you’ve been working at something for five years putting in around 40 hours per week you’ve already amassed a little over 10,000 hours of experience. Five years or 10,000 hours in a profession gives you the familiarity with the subject matter and confidence it takes to be an expert and to draw upon your business intuition.

Crossing over that line from novice to expert is a subtle one though. For some people “expert intuition” might kick in after eight or nine thousand hours and for others it might take eleven or twelve thousand hours. It depends on the complexity of the job you’re doing. For example, it might take longer to for “expert intuition” to come through on a consistent basis for a highly specialized surgeon or emergency room nurse than it might for a business manager.

There are no “ceremonies” to mark this achievement. The way you know you’ve crossed over that line is that one day out of the blue you face a very complex and stressful situation that needs to be resolved right away. Instead of looking to your boss or your mentor you jump in and take command of the situation without hesitation. Only after the crisis has been resolved does it occur to you that you made the leap from novice to expert. Talk to people in different professions and you’ll find they all say the same thing, “One day I just “knew” without hesitation what to do about a situation.”

“Expert intuition” is faster than normal cognitive functioning

When you become an expert there is no more “faltering” when making business decisions. The answers come to you faster because you have a pool of hands-on experience to draw from.  When you “know” what to do to handle a situation without a moment’s hesitation you save your business time and money.

Many of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs all said that they relied upon their intuition. It’s the “knowing” that comes to you in a flash that gives you the edge you need to become and MVP (most valuable player), in your company or industry. “Expert business intuition” takes all your past experience and sorts and sifts through it instantaneously, faster than any computer, and puts together a plan of action right there on the spot, just when you need it.

It’s probably happened to you more than once in your life in many differing situations where you have become an expert such as in parenting, driving or playing a sport.

•In situations where you’ve garnered those critical 10,000 hours you just “know” when your child needs to be rushed to the emergency room rather than taken to the doctors office, don’t you?

•You just know that the car zooming up behind you is menace on the road and you pull over to the slow lane in the nick of time as he or she causes a collision up ahead.

•You just know that the batter hit the ball in such a way that it’s going to allow you to run all three basis.

You were able to sum up the best options available during a game of chess to make the winning move in a matter of seconds.

Can you imagine how much more you could do if your business intuition would kick in more often? Just think how much more successful you could be if you had techniques at your disposal to apply in different situations that would give you the edge in creative problem solving.

Wouldn’t that make you stand out in your profession?

Wouldn’t you become the MVP to your boss and company?

It might make the difference in remaining in middle management for your career or breaking out and leading others in a top management level position.

The possibilities are endless when you learn how to tame your intuition.

You actually can cultivate “business intuition” to work for you on more a consistent basis to save your business time and money by following the following steps.

1. Get the experience you need under your belt. Start doing whatever it is you want to do now, don’t wait. If you want to be an expert in martial arts get out there and do it. If you want to be a respected writer – write.

2. Be curious. If you want to be a great manager and rise through the corporate ranks, get serious about learning, observing and listening. Learn everything there is to know about your craft of business. Take courses at night. Sign-up for workshops. Subscribe to trade journals. Learn, learn and learn some more.

3. Get your hands dirty. Offer to take on more responsibility, offer yourself for special projects where you get more time in and more experience and rub elbows with other more seasoned professionals.

4. Find a mentor. There is no better way to learn the ins and outs of profession. Someone who is experienced has already learned what works and what doesn’t. Developing a relationship with a mentor will help you avoid making mistakes that cost you time in your development and save both you and your business money.

5. Cultivate your business intuition. Develop a habit of meditation or “daily reflection” either in the morning when you first get up or at night right before going to bed. If you meditate you’re already ahead of the game, if not, I sincerely urge you to learn. Close your eyes and go within for at least 15 minutes each day.

Don’t try to “think” of the answer while in meditation—just refresh your mind of the details and then, let your mind to relax. Sit in silence for the remainder of the time. Don’t allow thoughts to take you off on a tangent. The answer may come to you right there in meditation or afterward during the day when you least expect it.

6. Prime the creative problem solving pump. Give yourself the “directive” that you are a “creative problem solver” and a “problem solving machine.” With eyes closed review a difficult business situation you are going through that needs a solution. Tell yourself that the answer is being “incubated” and will “pop” into your mind within 72 hours when it has been formulated.

7. Mine your dreams for answers. Your mind never stops working even while you are asleep. You can train your mind to bring you answers while you sleep. It’s not hard to do at all. Give yourself a directive to remember your dreams before going to sleep. Tell yourself that you want to have  dream about a specific problem you’ve been trying to figure out at work. Go over the problem very briefly in your mind before going to sleep. Instruct yourself that you will definitely get the answer in a dream and that you will easily recall this dream upon awakening. Put a pad and pen on your bedside table to be sure to write down the dream w hen you wake. If the answer doesn’t come that night, repeat this exercise until it does.

These are just a few of the most basic exercises for cultivating business intuition that saves time and money. There are many more complex techniques but, if you start with these seven, you can’t go wrong!

Have you ever experienced “expert intuition” Can you think of situations where you wish that “expert intuition” had kicked in? What will you do differently to be sure it does kick-in in the future?

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