Seeing What Others Don't See


"TWO COPS WERE STUCK IN TRAFFIC, but they didn’t feel impatient. They were on a routine patrol, and not much was going on that morning. The older cop was driving. He's the one who told me this story, proud of his partner.

"As they waited for the light to change, the younger cop glanced at the fancy new BMW in front of them. The driver took a long drag on his cigarette, took it out of his mouth, and flicked the ashes onto the upholstery.

“Did you see that? He just ashed his car!,” the younger cop exclaimed. He couldn’t believe it. “That’s a new car and he just ashed his cigarette in that car.”

"That was his insight. Who would ash his cigarette in a brand new car? Not the owner of the car. Not a friend who borrowed the car. Possibly a guy who had just stolen the car. As the older cop described it, “We lit him up. Wham! We’re in pursuit, stolen car. Beautiful observation. Genius. I wanted to hug him it was so smart.”

NOTE FROM CARL:  I chose this story because it shows people seeing things that aren’t obvious to others -- a great skill for leaders and one that I think can be developed with practice.


This excerpt is from a 2014 book entitled, Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights, by Dr. Gary Klein, Ph.D., a senior scientist at MacroCognition LLC and an expert in decision making. ISBN-13: 978-1-61039-251-8

Seeing What Others Don’t looks at how people think and how insights are born — insights that some have and others do not. The stories are remarkable.