Latest research reveals the hidden value of intuition


A new report, ‘The Intuition Index: The Critical Role of Intuition in International Business,’ has been released showing that intuition is regarded as a vital business asset with 96% of business leaders across the globe saying it is important. Global executive search firm Signium set out to discover the true value of intuition and the research reveals that intuition is crucial in the tasks of leadership, recruitment, and making decisions.
The report looks at data collected from business leaders across 12 countries in order to understand the value of intuition, an often unacknowledged quality, and to discover its role in commercial decision making. Across the world, a startling majority of business leaders said it was a highly prized quality; in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, 100% of respondents said that intuition is important in the culture they work in. 
The report contains some fascinating insight into how different countries perceive men and women to employ intuition differently, with 58% of respondents in Japan saying that men are best at using intuition, in contrast to the US, Canada and UK where the majority of respondents viewed men and women as equal in this. Other interesting country variations included the fact that 100% of Brazilian leaders say intuition is important in the culture they work in, versus 88% in Japan.
Another conclusion from the research is that there is a correlation between company size and the extent intuition is valued. The larger the company an individual works for – measured in terms of both number of employees and turnover – the more likely intuition will be regarded as very important (82% in large companies versus 62% in smaller companies).  Moreover, business decision makers are shown to value the quality more than HR decision makers (59% of HR leaders say intuition is very important versus 76% of business leaders).

As well as quantitative analysis, the research brings together in depth interviews with some of the top international business leaders, from the chairman of one of Australia’s largest publicly listed FMCG Corporation to the senior vice president at a global car manufacturer, to provide further insight and advice into the application of intuition in business. 
The chief financial officer of one of Europe’s leading business organisations says “Intuition is very important in accountancy which is so data driven. Without intuition we would just be the person presenting the numbers. So intuition helped me understand who would respond well to the numbers, how I should communicate, interpret and nuance the figures, and how to socialise the figures amongst colleagues.” The former chief marketing officer of a leading UK high street bank told us how he uses intuition in recruitment and understanding customers: “I use a lot of instinct in hiring people. I look at the data as well as listen to my gut feel by asking myself gut feel questions, such as if I were sat next to this person on a long-haul flight and my heart sunk then they probably weren’t the right person.”
“In this report, the evidence is clear that business leaders around the world put a lot of emphasis on the value of intuition, something that is hard to assess, difficult to develop and yet, according to them, a vitally important business skill,” said Alastair Paton, Signium chairman. “We believe that the success of senior leadership appointments is about getting the right fit between experience, culture and values, something we call the application of Intelligence and Intuition.”
The full report can be downloaded here: