Sometimes you have to trust your gut. There are even situations when following your instincts is the best approach. Rarely, however, is strategic decision making by an executive one of those times. In an interview in the current McKinsey Quarterly, two great scholars whose studies usually represent opposing views, agree that leaders' decisions based on intuition are usually not the wisest. Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002 for his work in prospect theory, which deals with the counterintuitive choices make under uncertainty. Gary Klein, a senior scientist at MacroCognition, studies intuition as a powerful factor in good decision making in high-pressure situations. Yet they agree that when in comes to executives in organizational decision making, intuition is overvalued.
Jeff Stibel, brain scientist and entrepreneur, asked a provocative question on the blog he wrote for Harvard Business Online, "Could it be that knowledge is overrated?" As the author of Wired for Thought: How the brain is shaping the future of the Internet and Chairman of BrainGate, a brain-implant company that allows people to use their thoughts to control electrical impulses, he has spent considerable time pondering questions about the brain, knowledge and information.