Agreed that emotion/instinct can be as important, or more important, than rational argument in many cases. One challenge to basing decisions on “subjective” criteria, though, is that the weight slmeone will give it ks tied to their relationship to the person / the persons reputation, whereas (the story goes) purely objective reasons should scale to all participants.

In other words, “Nate just has a feeling” can sound immensely powerful _inside_ the room where it happens, but immensely suspect _outside_ the room.

I would guess in practice a lot of business decisions do in fact made this way, and are mid hoc or post hoc rationalized for broader communication. I do think this can work well though when it’s framed as a a bet -- “Hey team, we plan to put an office in New York -- there’s good reasons for and against but ultimately we’re betting that by investing in this physical presence, we’ll ...”

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The longer I've worked the more I'm incorporating more of the signal from my gut / emotions on things. Over the past 2 years at Meltano, every time my gut has sent up a signal about something (good or bad) I've been right about it - it was just a question of when the truth would reveal itself. It definitely takes experience though to parse the feelings and to have the toolkit to investigate and gather more data. The gut is the accuser and the brain gathers the evidence.

To your other point about starting a meeting with feelings - one of the exercises my leadership coach had be try was taking a moment at the start of a meeting to create a human connection and share how I'm showing up to the meeting. So, for example, I might share something like "I'm coming to the meeting with a lot of curiosity about this project. I'm also feeling stressed from this looming deadline. And I'm excited for the weekend b/c of this event with my family." Something like that to see each other as humans first and then we can dive it. Of course there's the immediate concern of performative emotion and less honorable people could take advantage of that vulnerability - so it's not for everyone. But with certain folks it can be a powerful tool for lowering everyone's guard a bit. I don't do it super often, but some days I feel that energy and can sense an openness from other folks that it may go over well.

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This post reminds me of the book Thinking Fast and Slow. The book calls the gut/instinctive reactions System 1. System 1 try’s to automatically connect dots and find patterns and trends. The downside of System 1 is it occasionally finds patterns or connections that aren’t really there - hence the reason to question it. My takeaway from the book was to question gut instincts / feelings when it had to do with a patterns or trends I think I see. Thankfully we have data for that - no reason to guess when we can know! I’m also thankful we have instincts to lead us to that data when we wouldn’t have gone there without that feeling.

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