What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

Stuck Salmagundi


Now we get to the really good stuff…

Ants, Acorns, Ducks and Cockroaches

When you see ants, acorns, ducks and cockroaches, do you usually see just one?

No…and it’s the same way with the 9Stucks.  A stuck company generally has a collection of the 9Stucks.  This collection determines the overall organizational ‘stickyness’.

It’s the tangled, unique mix of the 9Stucks that is difficult to pry apart and fix.

That mix acts as a significant impediment to figuring out the real issues at play in the organization.

I like to call the mix Stuck Salmagundi.


Pirates would sometimes serve up a Salmagundi…a stew…a concoction of meats, fishes, and ‘whatever is left down there in the hold’.  While the pirates’ salmagundi did have individual components that when combined together produced a meal, it would be difficult if not impossible for the pirates to name the particular ingredients of this unique, simmering stew (and not only because they were tilted a bit with rum).  You most likely will not find their creations in the annals of Julia Child.

The distinct combination and interaction of the 9Stucks is like the juicy Salmagundi.

The CEO might be asking:

“How can we take time away from our day-to-day jobs to make time for a salmagundi deconstruction?”

Actually, he probably wouldn’t be saying that exactly, but I think you get the idea.

The pirates’ salmagundi was a bit mysterious (“What is that in there?”).  And the presentation of challenges faced by a stuck company may also seem mysterious.

The piece de resistance for someone like me is to uncover the Stuck Salmagundi ingredients.  When there are many of the 9Stucks in a situation, extricating and isolating individual components can be a challenging process.

With enough digging, I can assure you that a handful or more of the 9Stucks will be found in the company’s hold.  The goal of digging into the stew is to drill down with the right set of questions and analyses to determine:

  1. which of the 9Stucks are present,
  2. how the stucks are interacting, and
  3. what the priorities should be for fixing them
It is possible to figure out ‘whatever was left down there in the hold’, label it, and deal with it.

The Silver Bullet

The Controlling Parties all crave the silver bullet—these folks want to identify what’s not working in their business and to clearly articulate the steps necessary to fix the problems. And, they want those answers right away.

The Salmagundi generally prevents finding the Silver Bullet because it does not exist.

A Stuck Salmagundi Example

Here is a real life example of a Stuck Salmagundi.  After spending some time at a company, I start to pull my thoughts and observations together.  I tend to scribble a bit and draw some pictures to get ideas on paper.  This is an example of one of those drawings.

The green highlights illustrate which of the 9Stucks (8) are present: Ditch, Moment, Slow Lane, Traffic, Rut, Fog, Maze, Rough.

(Click anywhere on the drawing to enlarge it).