• Hannah E Greenwood

Intuitive Intelligence: our creative gold-dust!

Updated: Jun 30, 2019


Photo by Dominic Nazeri


I was born into a family and culture where IQ was king and other intelligences were blanked: emotions were feared and so not integrated intelligently; physical intelligence was animal instinct and therefore not to be trusted; and intuition was flippantly dismissed as 'women's intuition' and not to be taken seriously.


I grew up to revere my IQ and ignore all else and, consequently, made many poor decisions and choices, ruled by my head and not by my inner voice. What made it even more challenging was that, as I was born with emotions, instinct and intuition, they kept surfacing but having no language to identify and validate them, I was often confused and trapped in self-doubt.

And then, at a pivotal point in my life, as a senior executive leading change and facing immense resistance, I was urged to meet Diana Rose, an Executive Coach at London Business School. Diana was an extraordinary woman with the ability to ask the most penetrating questions, a great warmth and gentleness and a deep understanding of psychological dynamics, essential for leading people through change: we co-created a positive outcome fast.

Then Diana asked me a question which changed my life: “So what do you really want to do with your life?”


I couldn’t answer her. I was a psychotherapist with many years of therapy and deep introspection but this was new. No-one had ever asked me what I wanted to do before. The high achiever ‘good girl’ in me knew what I ‘ought’ to do. I had already been headhunted for CEO posts of non-profit organisations and was feeling flattered but not excited. Again, I was confused and trapped in self-doubt. It was through my work with Diana that I came to understand that I couldn’t answer such seemingly simple questions because I was looking in the wrong place. I would not find my truth in my head. I had to go hunting for it elsewhere.


And so began my Alice through the looking glass trajectory into a new and extraordinary world. Just as my IQ had been developed to a highly trained disciplined level, I began to train and integrate these newly identified ‘muscles’. I had already been developing my emotional intelligence, EQ, through my work as a psychotherapist and now I began training my physical intelligence, PQ, my instinctual body and energy, through physical fitness including nutrition, exercise and sleep. I learned that my social intelligence, SQ, my interpersonal skills and gift of connecting, were not underrated ‘soft skills’ but highly valuable. And finally, the strangest intelligence for me to understand and connect with was my intuitive intelligence, NQ. I knew I had intuition but out of all the intelligences, this was the most alien to my background and culture. I began my apprenticeship, learning to listen to my intuition and then honing it so I could use it wisely. I have had, and continue to have, great teachers over these 12 years, including my superb Intuition Coach, Mary.


Then in October 2011, I read an article that blew me away. I was in New York and my task was to write my first blogpost. I had hit a wall, had gone back into my ‘good girl’/Adapted Self and was stuck in my head, trapped in ruminative thinking and writing clever but meaningless words. In frustration, I went out to Central Park to get some fresh air and en route bought a copy of The New York Times. Walter Isaacson’s The Genius of Jobs changed everything:


‘So was Mr. Jobs smart? Not conventionally. Instead, he was a genius. That may seem like a silly word game, but in fact his success dramatizes an interesting distinction between intelligence and genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. They were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor. Trained in Zen Buddhism, Mr. Jobs came to value experiential wisdom over empirical analysis. He didn’t study data or crunch numbers but like a pathfinder, he could sniff the winds and sense what lay ahead.

He told me he began to appreciate the power of intuition, in contrast to what he called “Western rational thought,” when he wandered around India after dropping out of college. “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do,” he said. “They use their intuition instead ... Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion.” Mr. Jobs’ intuition was based not on conventional learning but on experiential wisdom. He also had a lot of imagination and knew how to apply it. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”’ The Genius of Jobs


I was blown away. Intuitive intelligence was no longer something to be talked about privately amongst women but never in front of men, particularly in the corporate world. Suddenly it...and I… was becoming mainstream!


Since then I have been training my clients and students Intuitive Intelligence, core to the Champion Mindset. It is our inner voice, our greatest guide and where we will find our vision for the future and the source of our imagination and hope. The Creative sector prize it and movers and shakers rely on it even if they don’t all know it consciously, often confusing it for the more acceptable instinct, PQ. And of course, we need to listen and integrate the data coming in to all our intelligences. This is what the skill of ‘Detached Involvement’ is and how we make wise, fast and the right decisions and choices.


Over the last few months we have scaled Cascãd and are in the process of creating an outstanding team. Each member has been chosen for their international expertise, experiential wisdom, intuitive intelligence, integrity and for being a great team player. What is even more unique is that we are also all ‘ambidextrous’, a term coined by Nawtej Dosanjh, meaning the integration of high intuitive intelligence with great practical implementation skills: we all have proven success in business, academia, entrepreneurship and leadership development.


This is the way forward. The Cascãd Innovative Change Lab is an incubator that develops this mindset and transforms managers into authentic and ambidextrous leaders, unlocking their unique leadership DNA and delivering results. A core aspect of this is training individuals and high performing teams to develop their innovative creativity and Cascãd is increasingly working with Emerging Growth Companies, successful startups who are now ready to expand.

It is proving to be a very exciting adventure and, as Batman has to learn after a lonely and hollow victory in the brilliant new Lego film, working with your team to save Gotham City is infinitely more effective and much more fun!