Learn to trust your gut

The Last Word

Dean Amhaus
President and CEO, The Water Council
247 W. Freshwater Way, Suite 500, Milwaukee
Industry: Water technology
Employees: 11


Dean Amhaus is president and chief executive officer at The Water Council in Milwaukee. He says managers should learn to trust their gut and encourage employees to follow their intuition.

“While this may seem a bit unconventional and not follow textbook management practices, as a manager I have come to learn to trust my gut, or intuition. Certainly, it is valuable to assess the pros and cons before making any decision, but I have found that nine times out of 10, my gut leads me in the right direction.

“This approach has helped me in choosing job opportunities and was definitely in place when I urged The Water Council board of directors to move forward on the development of the Global Water Center. There was no certainty in any of these decisions. Frankly, it just felt right. Of course, there is a huge amount of risk with basing decisions on ‘feeling right,’ but I believe that any great innovator, entrepreneur or manager is driven by this belief.

“If you don’t subscribe to this principal, what is more damaging is you become paralyzed and it becomes harder to keep moving and steering your course. One of the things I try to do as a manager is encourage my staff to also go with their intuition, and by all means keep things going. Stagnation is certain death.

“I can’t imagine any business school teaching ‘gut management,’ but I am convinced it works and would urge everyone to step out of his or her safe zone and
give it a shot. Once you do, and you see that it works, it will get a whole lot easier.

“Therefore, my ‘Last Word,’ or shall I say three, are: Trust your gut.”

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