9Stucks is a business diagnostic tool that identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform and restrict innovation. The 9Stucks are patterns…recurring conditions I’ve seen and experienced fixing stuck businesses for the last 20+ years. These 9Stucks are real, not theoretical.
One reader of the 9Stucks blog said to me: “I may be stating the obvious, but when I think about your 9Stucks, I think about PEOPLE. Don’t the people in a company have a big impact on creating, causing or maintaining all of the stucks?”
Hmm, good catch…
People are the driving force behind the 9Stucks.
They are the actors and actresses who have leading and supporting roles in an organization’s stuck performance, a performance that can carry the same degree of drama as any stage play.
Introducing the Stuck Cast.
Where can you find the members of the Stuck Cast in your company? Do they slink and slither about, hide in cubes, lurk around the kitchen area, or are they right there in front of you? Or are they…you?
The members of the Stuck Cast are not diabolical. They are not co-conspirators (well, maybe some are…). They are not sitting around your conference room table reviewing a script entitled: “30 Sure Fire Techniques That Will Make Our Company Stuck”.
They don’t need to prepare for their roles because these players are out and about just doing what they do every day:
- causing or creating the stucks
- enabling the stucks
- maintaining the stucks
- being clueless about the stucks
- fixing the stucks
Do you recognize any of the following cast members?
Cast Member #1: The Stuck Creator (SC)
The Creator knowingly or unknowingly had a direct role in creating any or all of the 9Stucks.
Creators almost always come from the leadership and/or ownership ranks. They hatch from:
- the company’s meddling investors
- a dysfunctional Board of Directors
- a CEO with a ‘challenging’ personality
- a checked out CEO
- unreasonable union leadership
- one of many other mixtures in the leadership ranks that can create confusion, dissension or a hostile climate
Creators don’t creep up on you; you know when they are around. Throw some additional fuel on the mix…what if they are the founders? What if they are family owners in conflict over the direction of the business?
Creators have a wide range of influence and control on all of the 9Stucks, with Ditch being their primary launching pad to create more stucks. Moment, Slow Lane, Maze, Fog and Rough are other well known strongholds for the Creator.
Cast Member #2: The Stuck Enabler (SE)
The Enabler has a direct or indirect role in perpetuating the stuck conditions. Enablers want to maintain the status quo.
See that immovable object over there blocking any thought of change? That is (one of) your Enablers. Enablers typically are pack animals, not lone operators. Birds of a feather stick together. Change agent? Innovator? Those words would not describe the Enabler. Maybe the Enabler just feels comfortable with things as they are and always have been.
Enablers tend to congregate around a few of the 9stucks:
- Slow Lane. Since Enablers resist change, all people aspects of the business are great places to block innovation and new ideas
- Rut. Outdated and tired go-to-market techniques and stale customer interactions are also spots where Enablers flourish
- Rough. Tired systems? Outdated processes? They still work for the Enabler, so why change things that aren’t broken?
Cast Member #3: The Stuck Antagonist (SA)
The Antagonist is an active sort of person, to say the least. This is a formula-based role:
Stuck Antagonist = a Stuck Enabler + (steroids x 5 hour energy drink)
- He likes the stucks
- She likes the chaos
- He doesn’t want change
- She will do all sorts of things to stir up the pot and keep their favorite stuck intact
Antagonists emulate the Stuck Creators; Antagonists are Creator wannabes…sort of like Creators in waiting.
Since Antagonists are whirling dervish characters, you most likely have had direct confrontations with one or more in your company. Antagonists also have their favorite stucks: Ditch, Slow Lane, Rut and Fog…they like to sniff out places where their badgering and control tendencies can have the greatest impact on the company.
Cast Member #4: The Stuck Bystander (SB)
The Stuck Bystander is around the stucks, but most Bystanders feel powerless in their ability to make change happen. Some Bystanders simply don’t appreciate the stucks’ impact on their organization or themselves.
Have you ever heard the definition of ‘dramatic irony’? Dramatic irony “occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play.” This sums up some Bystanders. Benign indifference.
Bystanders can generally be found throughout all layers of a company; no department or function is immune from having them.
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet sing about the Bystander:
“I’m gettin’ paid by the hour, an’ older by the minute.
My boss (an SC?) just pushed me over the limit.
I’d like to call him somethin’,
I think I’ll just call it a day.”
Cast Member #5: The Stuck Warrior (SW)
The Warrior wants to fix the stucks.
- An outside Warrior could be a trusted advisor, Director, friend, consultant, or family member
- An inside Warrior could be YOU!
There you have it – the Stuck Company Cast performing daily in a business near you. One of my previous posts featured a famous Creator who transformed himself into a Warrior (Ebenezer Scrooge). The Stuck Warrior wants to make lasting change happen.
Have you worked with an SC, SE, SA, SB or an SW? What can you do to influence and change the behavior of these 5 types of stuck actors and actresses? Suggestions on how to do that will be the topic of Part 2 of this series about the Stuck Cast. In the interim, please share any ideas and experiences you have had in the comments section below.
Lights, Camera, Take action!