Trust Your Instinct…& the African Hornbill Bird & Dwarf Mongoose

“Both work together, or network, to accomplish their individual objectives.” Is this quote referring to the success of a recent merger? Not quite. The author was referencing the relationship between the dwarf mongoose and the African hornbill bird.

Check out William E. Boswell’s book Success by Instinct: Use What Animals Already Know to Boost Your Career. Boswell, a former senior executive with BP America, and one of the company’s highest ranking African Americans, presents an thought-provoking approach to managing change, including personal career development. Instead of the usual dos and don’ts, Boswell offers 14 practical principles based on the instincts found in the animal kingdom which are also used by businesspeople, sportsmen, and world leaders alike to tremendous success.

Here is a sampling of Boswell’s principles for success through instinct:

  • Acknowledge that adaptability is essential for an effective transition, organizational shift or change
  • Establish goals to add direction, purpose, focus and meaning to the change you are facing
  • Recognize that teamwork is essential to accomplish goals
  • Maintain knowledge of organizational environmental issues, and ensure compatibility with your personal valuesBy the way, going with your gut does not mean that data and research are not important. Trusting your instinct means considering factors that may not always be easily quantifiable but are still quite important. Depending on the situation, you will need to be careful to avoid the confirmation bias trap. More on confirmation bias in my next posting.

    Try not to get stuck in the analysis paralysis. Be quiet and listen to your gut instinct.

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Sandra Schwan

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