Getting Unstuck

Article | Accountability Insights

by | Dec 11, 2014

All of us get stuck Below The Line in mental, emotional, or practical ruts from time to time. Admit it, but don’t let your admissions become excuses for diminished performance or remaining stuck. Taking accountability for overcoming ruts and getting unstuck is a learned behavior that can only be improved and honed through practice. Here are some suggestions for getting unstuck:

Discuss ruts and mistakes openly and honestly, without criticism and reprimand.  Every team and organization wants to eliminate or reduce mistakes and ruts because too many can sink the ship.  So it is in the best interest of a team or an organization to establish an environment where mistakes and ruts can be openly discussed, acknowledged, and used as learning tools for developing better solutions.  When this happens, you help each of your direct reports on his or her way to becoming an “expert”—someone who has made many mistakes within a field of practice, has learned from these mistakes, and, as a consequence, has acquired superior knowledge about what mistakes to avoid.  Accelerate the “expert” training in your teams and organization.
Take accountability for something that you have been ignoring or neglecting—a problem, a goal, a process, a relationship, a result. Make the appropriate apologies for not taking accountability sooner, and then develop a solution-oriented, results-driven plan of action. Make a commitment to yourself that you won’t criticize others for not taking accountability for their actions before first reexamining your own lack of accountability. Personal accountability always comes first.
Praise the people around you whenever they take steps to get out of their ruts. Help your direct reports avoid defensiveness, excuses, a victim mentality, or other Below The Line behaviors and attitudes when it comes to their ruts. This increased focus and attention will build awareness of and sensitivity to the detrimental and damaging effects of getting stuck in ruts. Always praise the rut busters!

To learn more about how to overcome mental, emotional, and practical ruts as an individual or an organization, we invite you to join our Accountability Community at, where you can review the stories and case studies of actual leaders and organizations.

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