Follow Your Gut? Or Follow the Facts?


When it comes to making a business decision, should you rely on your gut instinct to steer you in the right direction? Or should you turn to cold, hard data instead?

Some would say, “Gut instinct — all the way.” And no one could blame them. After all, in 2010, Steve Jobs acted on a hunch when he declared that tablets would soon overtake personal computers. The data statements said otherwise, and his business partners had their doubts, but Jobs insisted his gut was on the right track. In this case, Jobs’ gut instinct paid off. Apple released the now famous iPad later that year, and the company saw massive success.

But, as TSheets CEO Matt Rissell can tell you, it doesn’t always work that way.

“I was making assumptions based on nothing but gut instinct, “ he said of the early days at TSheets in his recent Forbes article, “Do You Know What’s Working? More Importantly, Can You Prove It?” “And, as much as it pains me to say it, my initial instincts were wrong… Even worse, my instincts were costing us — big time.”

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Matt realized that gut instinct alone wasn’t enough to determine “what’s working.” “We needed actual data if we wanted to see success,” he said. “And we needed a lot of it.”

“So,” you might be thinking, “where does my business stand? Should I rely on my gut instinct? Or should I make decisions solely based on data?”

The answer is, well, both.

Studies show that, “In business, the inner voice working in concert with cold, hard information could lead to better decision making.” [source]

And, “The best way to approach big decisions is to first consult as much factual data as possible, review it to discern what to take and what to discard, and then rely on a gut instinct to make the best call.” [source]

Matt recommends using your gut instincts to develop a hypothesis, then lean testing that hypothesis in an effort to make the final decision based on real, hard data. [source]

Want to see how it’s done? Check out his latest article on Forbes, and let us know what you think!

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