Spring 1988 // Volume 26 // Number 1 // Tools of the Trade // 1TOT5

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The Intuitive Manager


Jan Scholl
4-H Specialist, Home Economics
University of Wyoming-Laramie

The Intuitive Manager. Roy Rowan. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986. 188 pp. $15.95 hardcover.

Intuition can be an important tool for program and business managers. In this book, a number of scientists, psychologists, academicians, and business leaders (for example, Einstein, J. P. Morgan, and Ray Kroc) point out that hunches aren't just whimsy, but knowing your business and being able to apply everything that you have seen, tasted, and experienced to the problem or situation.

Formal methods of determining needs aren't discredited, but Rowan argues that it's a misconception that good analysis and good outcomes are synonymous. "The former means the problem has been diagnosed correctly, but this analysis doesn't automatically produce good results."

Intuition needs to be understood, nurtured, and trusted to be a positive tool. To destroy "intuitive blockers," Rowan recommends eliminating things like the use of hyphenated buzzwords and brainstorming meetings. Contemplative time must be set aside, as a "... brilliant stoke is often the distillation of study, experience and intuition."

Lessons on how to sharpen sensitivity and to practice concentration and visualization (obtained from the sports world) are included in this book. Several of the recommended procedures may be of use to Extension educators in problem solving.

These include:

  1. Keep the overall problem or situation continually in mind.
  2. Concentrate on what's unique about the situation.
  3. Redefine the problem frequently.
  4. Be aware of gaps in your knowledge of the situation.
  5. Make connections between diverse factors and consider many alternatives simultaneously.
  6. Rely on imagery (what could happen), but distinguish also between real obstacles and imagined ones.
  7. Don't count on instant success - be able to absorb a string of setbacks in route to your goal.

A variety of ideas are included in this book to stimulate interest and challenge widely held conceptions of thought and reality, particularly about program planning and efforts in organizing groups of people.