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Intuition: A Needed Component of Leadership for Decision-making in Today's Technology Driven Air Force

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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Deductive and technological data driven decisions are easy to support and defend when a decision results in failure but the best decision may not always be made when those tools are solely relied upon. This paper will show that the inductive or intuitive process should not be ignored and is also a critical component of leadership. Intuition needs to be identified, developed and utilized by the leader in a technology driven Air Force. Intuition is defined in the paper as the ability to subconsciously access and combine previous experiences, knowledge and life situations in a rational non-linear style to arrive at a conclusion that does not have readily apparent and communicable logical fact based data to support the conclusion. What is intuition, does everyone have intuition, and how can the leader use intuition in the decision-making process are answered in the paper. The research will demonstrate as technology provides vast quantities of data quickly to the decision maker, intuition should be a tool available to the leader.Two case studies demonstrate how intuition can impact decision-making. The first case study presents intuition from the perspective of a grandmaster of Chess and an experiment that was created to test intuition. The second case study uses George Keenans life to illustrate how intuition was utilized to set in motion the United States Containment policy that ultimately led to the end of the Cold War. This paper concludes with three recommendations to solidify intuition as a critical component of leadership First, provide Airmen insight into their intuitive skills using the MBTI, second, develop AF leadership doctrine including intuition as a key component, and third, educate, train and assign Airmen in new ways to best develop and exercise their intuitive capabilities.

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