The Coach's Corner

Archive for June, 2018

Trust Your Gut

June 18th, 2018 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Over the past few years, I’ve worked with business owners who, when relating a situation in their business, would say something like, “I knew I should have done this or that.” I can relate. Based on my self-diagnosis, I would say that I’m not naturally intuitive. This conclusion is the result of working with a number of partners and clients who really are intuitive. To me, it seems like they have a sixth sense.

What I’ve discovered later in my business career is that although I may not be intuitive, I have experienced a lot — both good and bad — and I’ve tried to learn from these situations. As I reflected on the subject, I recalled a February 2001 Harvard Business Review article entitled “When to Trust Your Gut,” written by Alden M. Hayashi. The reason I remembered the article is that the author highlights a story about Bob Lutz, who at the time was a member of the Lee Iacocca Chrysler Dream Team, and who many consider to be one of the greatest auto executives of all time. I won’t spoil the article, but it details Lutz’s conceptualizing and then launching the very successful Dodge Viper with no market research, just his gut instinct, to support him. The article quotes Herbert Simon, of Carnegie Mellon, who came to the conclusion that experience enables people to “chunk” information so they can store and retrieve it easily.

In a November 16, 2017, article in Psychology Today, titled “When Should You Trust Your Gut? Here’s What the Science Says,” Al Pittampalli states, “In order to trust our intuition, we need to have had enough practice. Our intuitions are only as good as the database of patterns that we draw them from. So we need to have had sufficient experience noticing and revising patterns in order to have built up a database that is both robust and refined.”

In the HBR article, the author says, “Executives like Lutz and Eisner (former Disney CEO) will be the first to admit that their instincts are often plain wrong. Don’t fall in love with your decisions. They warn against overconfidence, and they suggest routinely soliciting the opinions of others when faced with tough choices.”

So, here is my advice to “seasoned leaders,” based on my own experience and my observations of some awesome leaders:

  1. Don’t ignore your gut, especially if it’s related to a subject you know really well.
  2. Make sure you aren’t emotionally too close to or attached to the subject.
  3. Seek the counsel of others.
  4. Listen carefully; try to understand their views and the bases of their opinions.
  5. Don’t ignore your gut!

p.s. If you’re just beginning your career, be careful — unless you’re Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Thomas Edison, or Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines.

Are Your Best Successes a Result of Goal-Setting?

June 4th, 2018 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

I will readily admit that mine aren’t. Goal-setting has been on my mind a lot lately, as I recently have been involved in career-planning discussions with 20-somethings. As we’ve talked about their passions — or, sometimes, their lack of passions — I’ve also spent some time reflecting on my own life (it’s true, I didn’t feel a strong passion about anything in particular after my football-coaching gig didn’t work out).

Any of you who know me realize I’m a very serious business and personal goal-setter. I strongly believe in planning and goal-setting. Over the years, it’s helped me make good choices regarding how to spend my time and money.

That being said, as I’ve thought about my life, I can’t think of one major thing that has been the direct result of my goal-setting. For example, I went to Western Michigan University to become a football coach, but instead I ended up at Plante Moran. Then there was the time my college roommate and I went to the Lutheran Student Center’s dinner one Sunday evening because our dorm didn’t serve an evening meal. I went simply to get some dinner, but instead I met Barbara (this was over 50 years ago!). Once we were married, Barbara and I had no plans to live in Fenton (long story of how we got here), but today we love it. Finally, it wasn’t my plan to be in business with Barbara, but that’s not the way things turned out.

So here’s my current advice:

  1. Put your sail up and let the wind blow into it.
  2. Don’t over-analyze everything.
  3. Don’t fight gravity. If things are going well, continue — but if you keep bumping your nose, move on.
  4. If doors open, go through them.
  5. Some of us have to experience a lot of things to find our passion.
  6. Do your best wherever you are.
  7. Always learn as much as you can, wherever you are. As you go through life, you’ll be surprised how many of your life experiences will connect years later.
  8. If you’re in a miserable situation, move on.
  9. It’s not all about money.

With the advantage of several decades of life, I feel that today I am in my “calling” or “passion,” and I love almost every day of it. That being said, it took a lot of experiences for me to realize what I wanted.

So hang in there, put your sail up, and walk through any doors that open, no matter how scary it may seem.

p.s. Give me a call if you want to talk.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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