The analytical style of thinking is step-wise and logical. It usually attempts to break a problem or issue into its constituent parts both to understand and to address or solve it. It is usually very methods-driven, following thought-through (and sometime research-derived) models and frameworks. Examples of these are the real options analysis for planning technology investments, and business model canvas, used during new business development).
On the other hand, the intuitive style of thinking is driven more by gut-feel and confidence derived from experience. It does not follow a prescribed set of analytical steps, but draws on observed indicators and trends from the internal and external organisation environment to reach strategic decisions. Since specific explicitly available formulae are not followed, it relies on the individual’s ability developing their own internal modes of making sense of strategic issues.
There are advantages attributable to these different styles of thinking. For instance, an analytical approach to a certain matter will normally be open and allow objective contribution of multiple individuals allowing them to work together based on a commonly understood model or framework. An intuitive approach is normally fast and efficient. It relies on the mental and experiential capacity to read meanings into observed patterns and derive solutions very quickly.
Of course, there are flip sides to these advantages, and the downsides to each approach are often easy to observe. When faced with complex problems, analytical approaches often breakdown, unable to cope with the range and levels of variables. The reliance on models also means that it requires specialist knowledge, e.g. the understanding and use of the Black-Scholes model for real options valuation.
Intuitive approaches are very individual, and rely on tacit knowledge that is not often easy to share. Bringing others on board to agree on a decision often would rely on the power of persuasion, and sometimes the making links between influencing factors that stakeholders may find tenuous and difficult to accept. Decisions can very easily be seen as subjective or, worse, political in nature.
Intuition is how your Heart/Soul communicates to you. It is connected to all things through time and space and most of the time, doesn’t make sense. It’s the ability to observe what is obvious at the given moment in time.
Analytical Thinking is you trying to rationalise something, to make sense of it.
Intuition is said to be that inspirational “aha” moment of thought, before your rational mind kicks in, which ultimately sabotages the true message.
Old people are great intuitive thinkers thanks to their years of life. But I will not rely solely on them to make decisions for the present and future. Rather, I prefer to approach the decision strategically, using the intuitions of the seniors as a valuable input only.