Great Leaders Have Great Instincts for Survival— They Manage Emotion, Fear, Risk: Trust Instinct to Make Right Decisions…

Great leaders have great instincts, and they often use gut-instinct-intuition… when making decisions about issues of survival.. Great Leaders don’t get stuck in a cycle of over-thinking or paralysis by analysis…

According to Nicolas Dorier; survival instincts are indispensable, and lessons can be learned from ‘animal kingdom’ providing inspiration for coping with survival situations… After all, leadership is all about survival in hostile jungle of business, which is inhabited by multitude of predators.

According Martin Lindstrom; instinct is an accumulation of insights that leaders gathered through thousands of experiences, all compressed into a half-conscious impression that guides them to a course of action… Using instincts is about connecting those thousands of impressions…

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The Oxford Dictionary define intuition as– ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning… You may sometimes think of it as something magical, quixotic… Your intuition can reveal some aspects of a situation which your ability to reason cannot… There are things your ‘gut’ knows long before your intellect catches-on…

Great leaders learned to trust their instinct– they have ‘intuition intelligence’ and that helps them navigate faster through vast amounts of data, work around gaps and conflicts in information… Yet even most highly developed ‘intuitive mind’ can be misled when too many facts are wrong or missing… hence don’t neglect the rational mind, or the need for diligence– just get the balance right… The intuitive mind is a leader’s greatest weapon in business, when they learn how to use it confidently and accurately…

In the article Instinct for Business Survival by Dr. Tazeeb Rajwani writes: Understanding animal survival instincts can improve businesses’ chances of survival; according to study by Cranfield School of Management. Their research explored what business leaders who are preparing for hard times can learn from solutions of survival that have evolved in the animal kingdom over billions of years…

Animals survive and thrive in much more deadly environments, than marketplaces that business operate-in, so they are ideal subjects to learn from… Research identified a few basic survival strategies that business can develop to survive and thrive in unpredictable environments, e.g.;

  • Lion Strategy–Build Fighting Capability: Lions when faced with specific threats become alert and are able to attack swiftly and with forceful strikes, using multiple adaptations… Organizations that follow a ‘lion strategy’ takes proactive role in going after new customers, and adopts direct and forceful approaches in doing so. The lion strategy takes proactive attack role in going after competitive weakness…
  • Seagull Strategy–Structure Flight Capability: Seagulls survive and thrive in many different environments… Organizations that follow a ‘seagull strategy’ are able to swiftly exit in declining markets and rapidly exploit emerging markets… they move away, quickly, from a hostile environments to avoid specific threats, and adopt a more defensible position in growth and less competitive markets…
  • Shark Strategy–Develop Predator Capability: Sharks survive and thrive because they epitomize endurance, power, highly developed predator skills… they know instinctively when, how to surge to claim territory, attack victims… Organizations that follow a ‘shark strategy’ have highly developed predator instincts, and they use strength and offensive skill to attack and claim/reclaim territory in search for new markets and opportunities…

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In the article Instinct Theory of Motivation by Kendra Cherry writes: The ‘instinct theory of motivation’ says that all organisms are born with innate biological tendencies that help them survive. This theory suggests that instincts drive behavior, which are goal-directed and are result of learning and experience… The ‘instinct theory’ suggests that motivation is primarily biologically based, e.g.; people engage in certain behavior because they aid in survival… However, just labeling something as an instinct does nothing to explain why some behavior appear in certain instances, but not in others…

According to William McDougall; instinctive behavior is composed of three essential elements– perception, behavior, emotion… He also outlines other instincts that include; curiosity, maternal instinct, laughter, comfort, sex, hunger… According to Sigmund Freud; human behavior is driven by two key forces: life and death instincts… According to William James; there are a number of essential instincts for survival, e.g.; fear, anger, love, shame…

In the article Giving Enterprises Survival Instinct by Tracy Burrows writes: Assessing the probability of something happening is a human skill… Without this ability the chances of human survival is slim… To be able to accurately determine the likelihood of an event that could be beneficial or harmful is the difference between life and death, e.g.; being able to quantify the probability of finding food in a tree or a predator behind the next rock is based on experience and analysis of a range of clues... This data is processed by human brain, almost instantaneously, and it analyzes what it– sees, hears, smells… and develops an instinct…

Then either through conscious (or unconscious) decision (or instinct) it predicts the likelihood of a particular outcome, e.g.; there is a good chance the predator will attack, or not… then suggests an action; whether to proceed or to retreat… As experiences are added, human/business are able to improve the accuracy of the prediction… Whether in everyday life or business, having a means of accurately quantifying probabilities is hugely important survival tool… Nothing is ever certain; only when all underlying conditions are known– is there certainty of specific outcome… But can you/business ever fully know all the underlying– conditions, causes, value… to absolute certainty of anything?

Probably not: What you/business can do, however, is model ’cause and effect’, and understand the– associations, loose connections, linkages, patterns, correlations… or anything else that would incrementally, cumulatively increase the odds of knowing what can happen in given period of time, based on how similar scenarios that were played out before. This ability alone takes you/business a long way toward improving the odds of survival… According to Timothy D. Wilson; you can rationalize your way into anything, but first impressions often tell how you really feel… You may hear the term– instinct, intuition described as a nagging little voice inside you; and it typically speaks softly rather than screaming out…

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But unfortunately in this– non-stop, busy, technology-filled world… it can be easy not to hear that silent inner-voice– the instinct that says; do it or don’t do it… Great decision-making takes practice, and it’s a process that requires– level of comfort with discomfort… You can play it safe and defer important decisions to others, spend hours analyzing and agonizing over every option, or you could accept level of risk and go for it.

Many leaders are afraid of making a bad decision, or a wrong decision… but they must do the best they can with the information available at the time, and that include– instinct, intuition… but even when the wrong option is selected– great leaders deal with it, learn from it… Great leaders  survive in difficult situations, because they– remain calm, trust instincts, make great decisions…