Jerry Benson


Be Smart! How to Avoid Thinking and Decision Making Traps

Summary: Humans should be pretty smart by now. More information is created every few months than was generated in the first several thousand years of human history. Our smart phones give us answers to every question we can think of.

But we’re not as smart as we could be. Dr. Benson draws from 25 years as a top executive of a large, complex organization, first in human resources, then operations and finally as the President and CEO, to show how leaders often fall into common thinking traps. Because of these traps, executives simply aren’t as smart as they could be, and organizations are less successful because of it.

Does your top executive ever fall into the Wrong Scorecard Trap – measuring and acting on the wrong data or metric? Do you ever fall into the One Brain Trap – assuming that one expert will have a better answer than 1000 employees who work directly with the company’s products and customers?

Dr. Benson will describe the five common thinking traps. He will explain why we fall them for and how we can avoid them. And he will show how Human Resource professionals can help their top executives avoid thinking traps so they and their organizations can Be Smart!


Jerry Benson is a consultant and university instructor specializing in building high-performing organizations. Until 2018, Jerry was the President/CEO for Utah Transit Authority (UTA), a 2400 employee, $1 billion transit authority providing commuter rail, light rail, bus, and mobility services to 46 million riders per year. Over his 34 year career at UTA, Jerry worked in multiple executive positions including Director of Human Resources, Director of Communication, Chief Performance Officer, Vice President of Operations, and President/CEO.

During his tenure, UTA became a recognized leader in transit system efficiency, safety and reliability. Jerry received the American Public Transportation Association Innovation Award for UTA’s unique approach to labor relations. Under Jerry’s direction, UTA became the industry leader in applying Lean/enterprise excellence practices to public service. Jerry has given presentations on his leadership and organizational principles at the American Public Transit Association, the Shingo Institute/Huntsman School of Business, the University of Utah and Westminster College.

After leaving UTA in 2018, Jerry created 3rd Wind Leadership, an organizational and leadership development consultancy. Jerry works with business, government and non-profit clients to improve results by increasing leadership and organizational effectiveness. 3rd Wind Leadership helps organizations become CLEAR – reach clarity of purpose and strategy, develop principled leadership, cultivate employee engagement, achieve alignment of systems and metrics, and produce breakthrough results.

Jerry Benson holds a Master of Human Resource Management and a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication. He has over 20 years’ experience as a university instructor teaching leadership and performance management.