Warning Bells

This morning I was reading more about the big losses at JPMorgan Chase. By most accounts, warning bells had been going off about the danger the bank was facing with its trading activities in London. Executives were tranquilized by their optimism. This type of emotional illusion is often present at the downfall of leaders.

This myopia, however, isn’t the exclusive purview of organizational leaders. We all get caught up in it from time to time. There was a groundswell of optimism in the U.S. about the continuous rise of housing prices. While there were some on the edges, who warned of the fallacy of this belief, many bet their 401k accounts or acquired greater debt than was prudent under the spell of this infectious optimism.

Warming bells go off and we don’t heed them. We believe they are not meant for us. Our intuition is often screaming “NO” and we override the warning with tranquilizing stories that are logical. It is the flaw of logical thinking that blinds us. There is no logic that can understand the complexity of the world. We can’t yet explain how a plant knows to grow roots and leaves and flowers. How then can we logically explain an economic system that is as much hidden as it is visible?

If we reorient our guidance system and allow intuition to be the centerpiece, we will rarely experience surprises. I’m not advocating ignoring the logical mind. I suggest we use it in a different way. Instead of having it be the captain of our boat, give it a new job. This job is to gather information that helps us better understand what our intuition is showing us. This broadened understanding helps us act with greater confidence and feel more peaceful.

I’m trusting intuition more and more. I see life-long patterns that orient me to not trust it. Every time I have ignored intuition lately, I look back and realize it showed me the truth of a situation and my mind’s confidence was not well placed. The journey continues.

Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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