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#598: Listen to Your Gut - Really

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I probably take in too much information about business, management, industry and consulting for my own good. A lot of it seems to be variations on the same themes, and over time, a lot of follows the herd, with each new fad attracting the same authors and speakers. Would I be missing anything if I just saved myself a lot of time by cutting back my research?

A product of the Enlightenment, our centuries old assumption that logic, learning and analysis is where we get our best ideas and decisions may be in question. Research on the enteric nervous system associated with the gastrointestinal system sheds new light on nervous system effects coming from other than just the brain. However, it is now understood that this is tied into our emotional system (e.g., "butterflies in our stomach"). This system doesn't help with your decisions about strategy, finance or logistics, but it does contribute to our reactions to others, our comfort with our own decisions or activities, and in other as yet undefined ways.

Lest you think this is a bunch of foolishness or new age thinking. check out the Scientific American coverage of the 1999 book The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine about how stress, emotional reactions, serotonin production and other functions that we always assumed took place entirely in the brain also are (literally) affected by our "gut."

Tip: Following your gut is only as good as your ability to really hear what it has to say. Pay attention and be sure the voice you hear is not an echo of the crowd outside. It does take a while to develop a sense of who you are as an individual and what you stand for as a professional. Certainly pay attention to trends in business and consulting, but once you have a good consulting sense, dial back the input and use the time for thinking instead of input.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  decision making  health  learning 

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