This morning I read this article from The Economist on the EU/Greece crisis.

As I read, my question was, “Why is the EU failing to create alchemy?” If you’re not familiar with my framework of Tribal Alchemy you can see a snapshot of it here.

I’m not an economist. I’m in awe of those who can detail out complex economic theories and apply them to real-world situations. I’m sure some of the current failure to alchemize is the result of economic missteps that have not been remedied. But, what about non-economic reasons?

In my framework, a collection of people need to possess three common elements to be considered a tribe. You have to have,

  • A collection of people
  •  A collection of people infused with passion
  • A collection of people infused with passion working on shared outcomes

If you lose one of the three elements (above), you lose your status as a tribe. From my naive place, as I watch the potential for a Grexit, I have a hunch the parties involved have lost the third, and likely the second, requirement.

From The Economist article,

On the face of it Greece and its creditors were not far apart on the substance of how to extend the bail-out that the country needs to keep paying its bills. But trust between the two sides has broken down almost entirely, and room for manoeuvre has run out.

What I take from that statement is that the economics of the deal are not necessarily the issue. What is more likely, is that Greece and Germany (and other EU leader nations) have lost trust because they no longer have a common outcome. What is the common outcome both sets of stakeholders share? Until they can answer that question, each side will default to their own positions, and that will lead to greater entrenchments.

Closer to home, missing shared outcomes derail communities and organizations all across the U.S. If you’re at an impasse in your alchemy (with multiple stakeholders) get back to a more basic shared outcome, and walk forward from there.