How has intuition helped you to make decisions, both in business and your personal life?

By: Bill Van Eron Tuesday June 25, 2019 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron

Van_Eron_headerBy Bill Van Eron

Market & Business Ecosystem Strategist

Headwaters Marketing & Innovation

A few years ago, despite high corporate investment in analytics, researchers shared that most Fortune 1000 CEOs and C-Suite leaders still strongly prefer intuition.van-eron-inside-graphic

Also called Emotional Intelligence, when applied across any org’s internal & external success ecosystem, it will prove as an enabling advantage to developing intuition that is aligned to what matters so success follows. I can attest to it as I did this for HP between 1990 and 2002 as an advantage I wish I would have  taught others then how to leverage as it is key to win today.

Looking at what contributed to intuition prior to today; broad industry knowledge, organizational effectiveness, key market insights... all factored into brand relevance. Of course, when most CEOs shaped intuition as a preference, change was moderate, sales & marketing had reach & frequency efficiency, management principles were more universal & success was fairly predictable. 

Today, we see many CEOs and leaders struggling to embrace the fact that success is earned internally & externally versus something you just "expect" or "control." Two years ago, Deloitte did a study that showed 86% of CEOs failed when they demanded marketing account for revenue growth. Marketing failed to leap beyond traditional mindsets and other functions failed to offer support.

Leaders have fallen into widespread risk aversion, but fixing that is easy when one invests to understand how to fuel real success internally & externally. Many also hold onto outdated management principles, such as isolating problems to address challenges, that in truth are interconnected.

One look at most CEO Top 10 priority lists show progress is rare. Things like innovation have been on that list for decades, while talent recruitment is in the top two, despite most Millennials & younger strongly preferring entrepreneurial work and environs. It's time to get your intuition back on a more current foundation.

I heard recently from Microsoft and other transformation solution providers, that more CEOs are nodding yes to key business success factors, such as trust, inclusion, diversity, culture, objectivity, challenging the status quo, and more... yet so far it is rare to see any know how to implement or where to go.

All confirmed finding one with actual experience doing all of this successfully would be the highest value & most agile, proven path.

The path to success through agile intuition today has a far stronger outcome, faster, more inclusive & more sustainable, but it requires a different mindset. I will answer the primary question more personally now, to better show how my intuition has reliably guided my actions, inspired others, earned the highest regard and revenue growth... for Fortune 10 - 1000 companies.

Key to success was the following: 

Intuition in personal life. There is great truth to the value in growing up in an environment of challenge and adversity. Likewise; great truth in the vitality of trust, empathy & support. I grew up in the projects in Brooklyn, NYC as my mom had polio and my dad struggled following a long naval service in WW2. While we were all poor, we all had each other and that shaped a values-based compass that guided me successfully through life. Embracing diversity, inclusion, open culture, earned trust, synthesis of what matters, creativity, and more were my values compass; something all people and leaders should apply today.

Intuition in professional life. My chosen profession was graphics design. Working for high-profile clients in a demanding NYC marketplace gave me a solid design basis. It also put me on a foundation of continuous learning & attention to new & diverse stimulus as a continuous source to shape greater value. The more I look today at how designers are trained and where they excel, I now see interesting correlations to leap beyond the design comfort zones -- as I did for HP in 1990 -- to do more than make products and solutions look good, to now assure they are good, trustworthy, relevant and the org is worthy of support where it has a strong social footprint. I encourage all orgs to balance left & right brain strengths in a more open culture. Left-brain-dominated cultures abound, and most struggle to create relevance in this new values-based business economy.

Loyalty. In reading "customer facing marketing" in 1989 & when a major design awards judge told me I was doing hero marketing for HP -- making them look good despite modest market definition -- I loved HP enough to leave my design comfort zone and immerse myself in sales and channel environs, and then a few years later in business & trade media, and analysts as a PR strategist.

What I experienced as objective, creative & relevant insight was both unprecedented and had an incredibly positive impact towards HP employee inclusion, external influencer regard and yet unprecedented revenues growth... all connected by trust.

Three of a long list of unbroken success examples using agile intuition – the human AI:

  1. Creating a profitable HP Education program where most thought it impossible. Arguably, education’s slow decision process and lowest price basis can be a prevailing truth to stay away. I saw it as an internal truth and got permission to talk with university leaders, professors and students. We looked to understand their goals, obstacles & needs. That shift from vendor to partner benefitted HP, Agilent & Keysight as both strong growth markets and earns long-term customer preference.
  2. Understanding & earning regard across the ecosystem that defines success. My investment to invest in others beyond the usual corporate radar gave me insights to devise ways to help where reasonable. That shift from vendor to greater partnering continuously inspired global teams, stakeholders and market influencers. That education program was very successful...all because of intuition revealing how we could easily help beyond just product.
  3. Earning editorial trust in the most credible way to leap new products & brand rankings. I loved what I learned by investing to understand how editors and analysts best formed trust & relevance. My editorial relationship was responsive to how global markets felt about topics and where PR preconditioning could create trust & value above the norms. We once invited editors to focus groups to hear from customers directly, a bold move guided by trust in our relevance, as now creating shared trust with vital market influencers. 

Why this is so important today?                                                                                                          1.  Having access to firsthand, & continuous success applying principle & values-based business is both rare & a higher value at a time when most options are theoretical and incomplete. The beauty of this ability is greater agility to see and secure opportunities as a natural, motivated path to transformation.

  1. As employees are inclusive to success & progress doing work that matters, their emotional connection to work nears 100% vs. the 70% Gallup reports as emotionally disconnected today.
  2. We are at a crossroads where AI will replace 1000’s of repetitive work categories at a time when our business humanity is crucial to success. Digital tech has to be prioritized to enable humanity. Humanity itself has to rise above digital distraction and be connected by a system that truly enables us to care to be our best, to a higher standard.
  3.  Leadership, innovation, culture & ecosystem values sensitivity, now offer a time of unprecedented success to those that align and master mindsets and skills to win trust, effectiveness & higher regard. 

So yes, given the need to respond to challenges & opportunities with greater mindfulness and agility, Intuition that is aligned to internal & external values is your greatest asset. Understanding those values across your ecosystem gives most the heads-up they need to leap beyond crippling risk aversion and closed cultures to lead with a values compass of attention to others, purpose and attitude. These attributes are more ingrained in people with design and strong systems thinking skills, but in short order success will inspire better integration of all and greater success where left-brain thinking monopolized actions beforehand. The two working together equally, should realize your ultimate value.

Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

Bill Van Eron has led a life of continuous learning as fueled by originality, authenticity, trust, and attention to others across any org’s stakeholder ecosystem progressively, since 1976 & optimally from 1990-now, previewing work that matters as a key future-now workforce advantage. His proven ability to synthesize undercurrents of change & shape or revitalize values that rise up as what helps all to matter more, is now the path we all need to explore. Each of the topics above are all career attributes to help any of us add value. Bill evolved Headwaters Marketing & Innovation (, to now help us to rebound from this pandemic with honest reflection to what really matters as a forward-thinking plan to shape a better future. Bill’s rare experience and agile methods to integrate proven earned advantages will shape the next round of leaders in any market, industry & even government. We are all abuzz about technology & science innovation, yet attention to our humanity, humility, purpose, vision, trust & more moves all of us to rise above all obstacles (caveats) that stopped us before. All win when we feel listened to and inclusive. Connect with Bill at