Social Intelligence by Daniel G.


During the early days of Iraq invasion, a group of soldiers set out for a local mosque to contact the town’s chief cleric. Their goal was to ask his help in organizing the distribution of relief supplies. But a mob gathered, fearing the soldiers were coming to arrest their spiritual leader or destroy the mosque, a holy shrine.
Hundreds of devout muslims surrounded the soldiers, waving their hands in the air and shouting, as they pressed in toward he heavily armed platoon. The CO, Lt Col C Hughes, thought fast.
Picking up a loudspeaker, he told his soldiers to take a knee, meaning to kneel on one knee. Next he ordered them to point their rifles toward the ground. Then his order was smile.
At that the crowd’s mood morphed. A few people were still yelling, but most were now smiling in return. A few patted the soldiers on the back, as Hughes ordered them to walk slowly away, backward still smiling.
That quick-witted move was the culmination of many split-second social calculations. Hughes had to read the level of hostility in that crowd and sense what would calm them. He had to bet on the discipline of his men and the strength of their trust in him. And he had to gamble on hitting just the right gesture that would pierce the barriers of language and culture


About my2twobits

I am a 40+ male PR executive from India. I have deliberately kept my identity hidden so that I can freely, frankly open my heart and share my feelings about people I know from work and outside. Hope you enjoy the resulting emotional free-flow in my posts. I do fear and dread the day when my identity is disclosed and I may be forced to totally delete this blog, unless of course a publisher comes with an interesting offer ;)

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