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Sweet spots and the recession

Posted on: February 15, 2009

This could go so wrong

In the last week it has been snowing in the UK and the possibility of a slippery road doubles the nightmare of complicated English intersections.

Coming home from the gym, I come into the village on the High Street, which is on a ‘A’ road.  We drive on the left, and I need to turn right, across the traffic.  Not only do I turn across traffic, I turn on to a road at ‘my five o’clock’, executing a sharp U turn around cars waiting there, and because of their angle, not really aware of me at all.

We don’t have the right turning rule of NZ.  So I have to give way to oncoming traffic and be aware of cars coming up behind me.

This is how the situation resolves

The priority is in this order:

  • the cars coming towards me on a busy major road
  • me turning right across these cars
  • the cars I am turning around, who waiting to turn right onto the main thoroughfare, across cars going in both directions.

I stop and wait, until a car coming towards me, who has right-of-way, stops too. Notwithstanding that flashing your lights means danger in the Highway Code, the car will flash their lights indicating they have varied the law in my favor.

So I go first, then the car behind me waits, one car on the side road merges into the traffic, and the car that had right-of-way moves on having given let two people ‘jump the queue’.

The English value this exchange which feels a little like the “after you”, “no after you”, that people use at a doorway.  It makes them feel mannered.  (I like to tease them!).


What the exchange shows is leadership.

  • Someone chooses to take charge and acts for the common good.
  • Like all good leadership, it is executed with agreement of the followers.  There is common understanding, or dialogue as Steve Roesler calls it.  In that moment, six cars are in agreement.  The car who has stopped for me, me, the car I am turning around, AND the three cars behind us.
  • Critically, for our collective agreement to succeed, we are confident that each and everyone of us will honor the agreement.  We have faith in each other’s ability and intention to execute this agreement.  Psychologists call this agreement “collective efficacy“.

Collective efficacy and flourishing during the recession

This is who will flourish in the recession – communities who have ‘sweet spots’ where people trust each other, sufficiently, to execute a complicated agreement together.

Where you and I can find those ‘sweet spots’, we will flourish.

Come with me!

Let’s find these ‘sweet spots’ in our business life and do more of them.

Where are the situations where everyone has a common understanding?  How do these situations play out?  What is our role?  Where would we be if we didn’t play the  ‘sweet spot’?

Let’s celebrate our  ‘sweet spots’ and spread them about!


1 Response to "Sweet spots and the recession"

[…] HR in the Recession Sweet spots and the recession […]

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