Meet Christian Nauer, Senior Partner & Head Scaleup Desk of FS Partners

Have Confidence in Your Decisions!
Unveiling the Decision-Making Secret of a Seasoned Entrepreneur and former Handball referee 🔐

Christian brings a wealth of experience from over a decade as an entrepreneur, and has supported startups such as Librio, Alithea Genomics, CodeCheck with his expertise. As his career as a handball referee is even longer than that, we wanted to know his secrets about intuitive decision-making.

Christian, as an entrepreneur, you’re constantly making decisions. How do you take decisions and how confident are you in your choices?

I am a very analytical person, and for a long time I thought that a smart decision should always be supported by a detailed analysis.

What changed your perspective?

Taking decisions as a referee on the handball court showed me the limitations of analytics. In the fast-paced world of handball, there’s no time for “thinking”. Trusting my intuition became crucial.

That sounds plausible as handball is very quick sport. But how does intuition fare in high-stakes business scenarios?

Intuition plays a significant role, even when facing tough and often emotional business decisions. Your brain subconsciously draws from experiences to guide decisions. Almost instantly we compare cues to past experiences to take swift actions. If you see a lion in the corner of your eye, you probably start running without analyzing the situation first. This unfortunately also means that you might be ignoring your conscious and more balanced analysis.


(from left to right) Pascal Grünig, Andy Schmid, Christian Nauer

Can you give an example?

Let’s say you are confronted with a decrease in leads, you probably consider spending more on performance marketing. You “should” base this decision on a careful analysis of performance marketing costs vs. additional leads generated.

Your intuition, however, doesn’t wait for such a detailed analysis but subconsciously scans your past experiences for similar situations to make a verdict. If solving a slump in new leads with performance marketing resulted in better P&L afterwards, it is stored as a successful strategy in your brain. You’re likely biased in favor of doing it again, regardless of whether a careful analysis of current data may suggest a more cautious approach, for example when the strategy is likely less effective due to increasing costs per click (CPC) or lower click-through rates (CTR).

So, should we ignore analysis altogether?

Not quite! But I encourage using it differently. You can analyze situations beforehand to train your intuition.

Pre-analyzing the effects of CPC and CTR changes on P&L creates expectations that become part of your collection of experiences and are now accessible to your intuition as additional insight for your decision-making process. If you are better at recognizing of what’s going on, you’ll be taking smarter decisions. And you’ll have much more confidence in them. The trick to confident decisions is training your recognition skills.

How can one improve their recognition skills?

Translate expectations into clear indicators.

As a referee, I would train my intuition by visualizing specific triggers: What happens if a player is pushed in the air? He will suddenly fall backwards. By linking the trigger and the impact together in training I improved my recognition skills. I now enabled my intuition to instantly recognize that the defender must have illegally pushed the opponent, when I see a player falling on his back. 

In order to decide, one need to recognize?

Absolutely! The better the indicator, the easier the intuitive interpretation of what’s going on. Similar to how a referee identifies triggers in training, identify indicators as part of your business analysis. Recognizing key signals streamlines decision-making.


Connect with Christian  on LinkedIn


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