"Go with your gut," is occasionally good advice.
More often, though, it's an invitation to indulge in your fear or to avoid the hard work of understanding the nuance around us.
Better advice is, "invest in making your gut smarter."
The world is a lot more complex than our gut is likely to comprehend, at least without training. Train your gut, get better instincts.
How do this?
- Practice going with your instincts in private. Every day, make a judgment call. Make ten. Make predictions about what's going to happen next, who's got a hit, what designs are going to resonate, which videos will go viral, which hires are going to work out. Write them down or they don't count. It makes no sense to refuse to practice your instinct and to only use it when the stakes are high.
- Expose yourself to more deal flow. If you want to have better instincts about retail, go work in a retail shop. Then another one. Then a third one. If you want to have better instincts about hiring, sit in with the HR folks or volunteer to help a non-profit you care about do screening of incoming resumes.
- Figure out how to talk about your instincts so that they're no longer instincts. A thinking process shared is inevitably going to get more rigorous. Ask your colleagues to return the favor, by challenging each other to expose their thinking as well.