Stuck just doesn't apply to cars in snowbanks and peanut butter jar lids. It is equally, if not more applicable, to individuals and the organizations of which they are a part. I have found three interesting books that address this issue from different angles, but with some unique intersections. All three deal with the sometime daunting and difficult issue of change. And all three also say - either explicitly or implicitly - "What are YOU going to do about it?"
Individuals, Organizations, and the Systems Approach
Unstuck (and its accompanying website www.unstuck.com) is co-authored by Keith Yamashita, founder of Stone Yamashita Partners, a San Francisco based consulting firm that works with companies undergoing large scale strategic change. Based on the premise that all great people (and organizations) get stuck at some point - it examines the real trick, which is knowing how to get "unstuck." Intended primarily for organizations, the approach has great relevance for individuals in their business and life decisions (and are the two really separate?) In fact, in a recent interview in Fast Company, Yamashita stated that after reading a draft of the book, his masseuse decided to change his life direction and moved ....
"Unstuck" advocates a Big Picture approach - zooming out for the systems view from 20,000 feet - and looking for the single root cause that has pulled the system out of balance. Ideally with unity of purpose at the center, the systems view is defined by the surrounding elements of strategy, people and their interactions, structure and process, metrics and rewards, and culture (aka "soul"). And the "Serious Seven" primary causes of the imbalance are defined as: overwhelmed, exhausted, directionless, hopeless, battle-worn, worthless, and alone. Understanding which of the seven is the root cause of your organization's "stuckness" and how it derives from a particular imbalance of the six elements of the system, provides a beginning point for crafting a plan of action. The book provides many interactive tools, techniques and brief real world case studies (eg PBS, The Gap, HP, and IBM) to assist in the process.
The Recruiter's Perspective for the Individual
In How to Earn What You're Worth, author and executive recruiter Sunny Bates takes a slightly diffferent approach to "Stuck" - looking at individuals "stuck" in their jobs and unable to find the "juice" to communicate their value and passion to potential new employers. Similar to "Stuck" (although focused on the individual rather than an organization) the first section of Sunny's book deals with exercises, questions and general soul searching to determine an individual's essential blueprint and story - Bates appraoch for the individual is informed by 15 years of conversations and 75 specific interviews with individuals she calls "wothies" - her case studies from which she has formed her "system" for the individual crating a personal profesisonalplatform for getting "unstuck."
Personal Stories, Lessons, and Anecdotes
Taking another road (literally), as chronciled in What Should I Do With My Life, Po Bronson traveled the country to find stories of people of all ages and professions who have struggled to find "the job" that fits with their true nature, and what mistakes they made before they "got it right." From the documented efforts of the 55 individuals in the book, some common lessons and experiences emerged - creating the personal analog of the large organization "systems approach" of "Unstuck."
"We all have passions if we choose to see them. Most of us don't get epiphanies. We don't get clarity. Out purpose doesn't arrive neatly packaged as destiny. We only get a whisper. A blank, nonspecific urge. That's how it starts."
So whether it's thru a systems approach tested with the Fortune 500, a recruiter's observations and experiences, or personal anecdotal stories from a screenwriter to a shrimp farmer --- there are a number of interesting and creative ways to address the issue of being stuck , and how to get unstuck.
So what have you done when you've been stuck? Who has helped you and how did you find them? What's the biggest lesson that you learned from this and still use today?