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Intersections: a simple test in decision making

What kind of decision maker are you?

If you ever wanted to observe an elementary test in decision making, stand at a busy intersection and wait for pedestrians to queue.

Who will cross the street first?

There are three types of people who cross the street, three types of risk analysis, decision making.

  1. Green Men. This is the majority of pedestrians... they will wait (im)patiently for the little man to turn green, giving them permission to cross.

  2. Gaugers. There is smaller group who will stand on the curb and look towards the oncoming traffic, gauging the flow and waiting for a chance to dash across.

  3. Lateral Kids. Then there are the handful of lateral kids... these pedestrians look in the opposite direction entirely. Why? Because they know that the indicators for the traffic to slow or stop, are the traffic lights which are displayed across the intersection.


While there is no right or wrong way to cross the street... a savvy pedestrian will employ all three methods and choose the most appropriate strategy for the situation. In fact, who crosses the street first, is not as important as those who have processed input from various sources to negotiate a suitable risk.

Rushing to be first is fine, but all it takes is for you to fail at crossing the street... once.

Waiting patiently for permission to cross is fine... just slow... and slower when caught in the crowd.

Organisations require all three types in Leadership.

More critically, the flexibility, to take a radically different approach, looking in the opposite direction to the crowd, to find the most accurate indicators and to gain leading insight.


Christopher. S. Sellers is a Speaker + Author on Creativity + Innovation

Founder + Director of Black Bulb Creative


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