How Much Sway Should Data Have in CEO Decision-Making? – Real Leaders

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Does a CEO’s gut instinct matter in a world that runs on digital data-crunching?

Over the last decade, big data analytics has risen to the forefront as a tool to facilitate smarter, faster, and more effective decision-making in business. Its meteoric ascension into corporate boardrooms and executive offices has displaced our conventional ideas about the value of an individual leader’s savvy. Today, a leader who so much as mentions intuition during a strategy meeting is likely to prompt a few skeptical looks and a polite variation of: “Okay, but what does the data say?”

Gut instinct is an outdated faux pas in modern business culture — an idea that might have backed CEO icons in the past, but hardly suits our understanding of leadership craft now.

As one writer for the Harvard Business School Online summarizes in an article, “The concept of intuition has become so romanticized in modern life that it’s now a part of how many people talk about and understand the “geniuses” of our generation. Though intuition can be a helpful tool, it would be a mistake to base all decisions around a mere gut feeling. While intuition can provide a hunch or spark that …

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