There’s a certain mythology around trusting your gut. It’s a go-to idea you hear from politicians, tech founders, artists and parents. And what a sexy notion it is — that a feature on the high end versions of the human machine is the “golden gut.”
Wars have started on gut instinct. So was Theranos. And some percentage of marriages.
There are other methods of decision making. Less sexy. We have seen the photos of Obama staying up until two in the morning to study white papers or heard the story of Mary Shelley’s multiple rewrites of Frankenstein.
So the question is: can we trust our gut? I took the question to Annie Jean Baptiste, head of product inclusion at Google. We talked for an hour and here are my takeaways:
>Great work and great relationships both require intellectual humility. You have to believe there are things you and your gut don’t know.
>When it comes to perspectives, think AND not OR.
>At the top of every meeting, ask: Who else should be here?
>It’s one thing to make things for people and quite another to make them with people.
>Great leaders put their thinking to the adversity test. They not only explicitly give people permission to contradict them, they require it.
>Hubris — still as fatal a flaw as it was in Shakespeare’s time.
>Run your thinking through the Daniel Kahneman test: is this an area where patterns exist? Do you have long experience with the subject and have you tested your understanding of it against reality before?
>People tend to sponsor and mentor people who remind them of themselves. This is understandable but it’s definitely not going to expand the network.
>If you want to know something real about someone else, ask them 5 times: who are you?
>Lead with yes and doors will open.
>Reflecting a child, as they are, back to them is a life altering act.