In sales business this is true as well, it comes down to the everlasting question of Art & Science. The fine arts of dealing with people, emotions, expectations and the fact based, systematic, scientific approach. Provocatively speaking, neither wine & dine nor bean counting is the answer. The journey towards the right blend is the master discipline in sales leadership, since it is closely connected to both, organizational culture and customer intimacy.
Diversity needs room in every healthy organization but it must reside with the people and perspectives. It is not defined by the variety of proprietary spreadsheets in a room. We all have attended far too many meetings which did not follow the courses of action.
Actually, it´s great to rely on intuition and discuss different standpoints but let´s calibrate it with insight, driven by relentless curiosity – trying to avoid justifying ones own personal bias. In memory of Hans Rosling, the founder of gapminder.org, who recently passed away: “I want to talk about mindset; Does your mindset correspond to my data set? – if not, one or the other needs an upgrade!” [TED 2009].
Keep it simple for all parties: What can you do in your next business meeting to stimulate the customer mindset and concrete plan of action through valid and compelling facts? – Think about it!