It defies logic.

 

You’re in a traffic jam. . . road construction. . . orange cones everywhere. . . two lanes merging into one. There’s one long line of cars creeping forward, and next to it is a lane with cars zooming past to the point of the merge.

 

Then it happens: A driver moves his car out from the slow lane half way into the fast lane, effectively blocking both lanes of traffic. Now, both lanes are moving slowly.

 

At this point other drivers go crazy (i.e. obscene gestures and other dark displays of human behavior). The fastest way through the bottle neck can only be achieved if we work together. But one driver with a personal agenda stymies our collective progress.

 

The psychology of blockers is easy to understand – and painful to endure.

 

It happens on teams, too. First, divergent, big picture thinking is applied. (Two lanes become three, and then four. It’s like autobahns: speed.) Then, it’s time for divergent action. It’s time to execute differently. (An accident or repair work requires we narrow to one lane.)

 

‘Blockers’ aren’t good executors. They define winning by getting as many losers around them as possible. It bothers them when someone else may momentarily move faster than them (even though that’s how the plan was designed).

 

This week focus on ‘merging effectiveness.’ Ask your team: What must we do to get better at merging? How can we set each other up for greater success?

 

Success isn’t accomplished by engineering the perfect plan. It lies in human behavior. Your leadership and culture are your edge.

 

Share your comments below so other leaders can be inspired by you (and your ability to navigate in rough traffic).

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