The state or fact of being unable to move or progress… experiencing the feeling of being stuck where you currently are.

Crisis… what crisis? I can do very little about it any how!

The stuckness phenomenon… When obstacles - that capture our attention - are acceptable, they can be admitted to, talked about, investigated and invested in.Investment implies an input of money, effort, time and other resources as applicable and/or required. But, often, they cannot be fully solved…not really!Mainly, as a result of constant, rapid and ever changing circumstances, also referred to as wicked challenges. For example… Consider a multi-disciplinary teamA diverse group of individuals with different specialties, each with different backgrounds, various experiences and areas of operation. tasked to develop a strategy for introducing a more effective self-actualizing process and strategy. The many hidden issues bubbling beneath the surface of team functions such as an absence of a common strata and/or unresolved relationship and interaction amongst team members and subtly pitted against one another. Members normally avoid identifying these underlying issues, too anxious about what it might mean for their specialties,function and professional life. These emotionsFor example: frustration, anger, guilt, fear… behavioral barometer. triggered by the underlying issues - might be ignored - but these emotions and feelings simply do not disappear… as much as we might wish them to go away. Triggered emotions seek and demand expression. So as the team tries to solve, what ought to be relatively straightforward strategic questions, these emotions - from the avoided issues - are woven into the team's work and function. Team members act out in relation to one another, without being fully aware of doing so. As a result, each individual's work and that of the team itself, becomes hijacked by these pirate emotions. The team comes to a grinding halt, gets stuck and its members remains unaware and baffled of how and why nothing is actually accomplished, apart from heaps of paperwork.

Individuals remains firmly stuck, because they often disregard a basic truth: When we are having the same conversations over and over again, we are having the wrong conversations. If the team - for example - repetitively keep talking about the same strategy issue for implementation, that conversations goes nowhere. The team wastes months of effort. Why? Because they are having the wrong conversations, as its members are convinced that it is the conversations that they are suppose to have.In other words, conversation must only be process result focused. So what is the right conversation? It is an authentic discussion between all team members about how they could establish and sustain a productive working environment.In other word how to address, deal with and accommodate climate results as well. But members are either unable or unwilling - which boils down to the same thing - to have these conversations. So they keep engaging with the wrong conversation, which they are unable to stop having over and over again.

Stuckness thrives on the wrong conversation. We only escape its grasp, by figuring this out and having the right conversations. This is - of course - no simple matter. And that process only begins when we realize that we are - indeed - stuck. So how do we know when we are stuck? There are certain signs that we need to be on the look out for. The signs are actually quite clear. But we often miss them, thinking that they mean something else. The signs include…

  • Issues and problems either do not get resolved or are merely resolved partially, to ward off the worst crisis.
  • Working and cooperative relationships - communication, trust, respect - are diminished.
  • We experience troubling emotions - anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, resentment - that do not go away even when the ostensible problems and issues are resolved.
  • We experience recurring impulses of fight or flight.
  • Situations seem too familiar, repetitive or “relentless”.

These are all signs indicating that we are entangled in stuckness. When we avert our focus from the real issues that trouble us, those troubling issues retain the power to signal their existence. Indeed, we are sending signals to ourselves; we issue distress calls, in the unconscious wish that someone will hear and rescue us. So we act in ways that frustrate, bore, and anger us and those around us, who feel hopeless to the point of wanting to disengage from the situation. When we are able to understand our experiences and impulses as signalsAs a matter of fact actually are distress calls, issued in the hope that someone would see that we are caught-up in stuckness then the situation could truly be altered. But this does not occur very often. Instead, we look at the signs of stuckness as evidence of the incompetence, bad intentions or personal limitations/shortcomings of other people (i.e. resort to the blaming game). We do not realize that the real problem is that we are stuck in the wrong conversation, and that there are right conversations to be had. Yet there is hope. It is possible for individuals to hear and respond to distress calls when we are stuck. However, we must realize that stuckness does not just suddenly dissolve and that distress calls - unheard - build. They signal the presence of stuckness, first softly, and if not heeded, they get louder and stronger… demanding attention.

Stuckness normally are the outcome of obstacles experienced and addresses without due consideration and/or accommodation of the efficient balance between process and climate results to ensure a harmonious environmental fit, where the latter - incidentally - are the foundation of the emotions economy, which are mainly driven by an accountable ADKAR-change model.

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  • Last modified: 02 September, 2018 @ 12:11pm
  • by Jan Viljoen