Trust Your Instincts

If there's a business lesson that I seem to need to continually learn over and over again, it's that I ought to trust my instincts.  The schema your brain creates in order to tune in opportunities and tune out the irrelevant (or worse) is very real and very effective.  Listen to it. That's not to say that decisions should be made entirely on gut feel.  All decisions of any significant magnitude should be supported with research, and tempered with the guidance from others who have had to make the same or similar decisions before.

But if a deal sounds too good to be true - it probably is.  Look into it a bit more.  If you think you should be doing more of something, research it and if it still seems like it's a good idea - do it.  Let instinct guide where you place at least some of your resources when it comes to research and future direction.  Get in the habit of doing a few Google searches on whatever it is you're going through, whether it's trying to cut costs, trying to hire the right people or weighing the options for expansion.  Find people who have gone through something similar on a message board, blog or social network.  Ask their advice.  Listen to it.  Take it into consideration.

And NEVER, never, never do something that runs contrary to your instincts unless you've looked into it fully and have taken steps to counter as much risk as possible.  Don't let people tell you your instincts are irrelevant.  They're there and they're very real.