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This Is When it’s a Bad Idea to Trust Your Gut

Kris Duggan of BetterworksKris Duggan of Betterworks
Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorksPhotograph by Scott R. Kline

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you make tough business decisions?” is by Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks.

When it comes to making tough business decisions, nothing beats experience. Today, the pace of disruption is at an all time high, which means companies need to be quick to adapt or they risk losing their business to a company that doesn’t even exists yet. Just look at what Uber has done to the entire taxi industry. As a result, only companies that can remain innovative — sometimes even disrupting their own technology — will survive and thrive.

And so I believe the best approach to decision-making is duality, that is supported by organizational alignment. In other words, I approach making each tough decision by looking equally at the pros and cons, and how the resolution could impact the broader goals of the entire company. Here are three examples I’ve faced in recent years:

See also: It’s Critical You Do This When Making a Tough Decision

Go with your gut, but consider the facts
We’ve all had a ‘gut feeling’ about something, but we’re also working in a time when data can be used to back up our decisions. Especially when it comes to hiring decisions, it’s important to have both a good gut feeling about the prospect, as well as their list of past results, references, and prior experiences. Leaning too hard on a gut decision—or data—might lead you astray.

Don’t lose sight of your long-term goal
The founder of LinkedIn (LNKD) once said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Iterating quickly works in today’s explosive tech scene, but I’d argue that it has to be balanced with long-term goals. Taking a fail fast approach to get rid of potential long-term problems can work, but not if it derails you from meeting long-term company objectives.

Be decisive, but sleep on it
Work–life integration is vital, and has a direct impact on decision-making. While it’s important to be decisive, being tired or overworked will only lead to bad decisions. Balance your need for speed with some fresh air or time outside of the office. Don’t be afraid to sleep on it.