team building leadership innovation organization development expert michael cardus

Stuckness” is incredibly common amongst teams. It may come from a myriad of problems and knowing the problem does not necessarily give us a solution.

For example, working with a non-profit executive team I would find that when we met in the Executive Board Room no one voiced their opinion and when it came time to assign action steps everyone stared at their notebooks.


When we met in another meeting room in another location they could not stop talking, the ideas and laughter flowed and people were happy and volunteered to take responsibility for project tasks and help others.

Was it the meeting rooms (probably), was it the coffee, was it the seating arrangement, was it the commute? I don’t know…

Instead of digging-in and arm-chair-psychoanalyzing, I just arranged to have meetings in the meeting room that worked better and avoided the Executive Board Room.

On to the Inquiry:

The team is stuck what can I do?

  • If the team was un-stuck, the opposite of where you see them now, what would they be doing?
  • Have you articulated to the team what it is that you would like them to achieve?
  • Is this in concrete and actionable language – meaning abstractions are kept to a minimum?
  • Think about the location, is there a place or time or location or environment where the team flows (opposite of stuck)? Even just a little bit?
  • Once the team is flowing how will you act toward the team?
  • How will you see the team starting to flow?
  • Has there ever been a time when that happened? Even just a little bit?
  • Did you ever think about separating the team and asking team members to work alone and return to the next meeting with 3 to 5 ideas that they can implement that are aligned with the goal?
  • What can you do that the team is not expecting?

“Stuckness” can turn to “Flow” just from doing something different.

What ideas and techniques have you used when the team is seen as stuck?

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