8 Questions to Get Your Team Unstuck

Published: January 25, 2021
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Teams always move through cycles. For reasons coming from both within and outside the team, sometimes they get stuck. Getting unstuck is much easier when you know what has disrupted the cycle and what will get things moving again. Usually, the culprit is one of four issues. A few questions in each category will shine a light on what to do next. Let’s explore.

Culprit #1: Our team’s foundation isn’t strong enough to support our vision. Ask these two questions to prompt a conversation that will get you unstuck:

  • What are our team’s historical roots?
  • What are our shared expectations for the future?

Culprit #2: Our team lacks sufficient connection to support collaboration. Ask these two questions to prompt a conversation that will get you unstuck:

  • How would we describe the interpersonal dynamics on the team?
  • Is there anyone on the team whose needs are not getting met?

Culprit #3: Our team isn’t able to grow to the next level. Ask these two questions to prompt a conversation that will get you unstuck:

  • Has our team reached a stage of maturity that makes innovation possible?
  • What enablers and obstacles should we be addressing to light a spark?

Culprit #4: Our team doesn’t seem resilient after a disruption. Ask these two questions to prompt a conversation that will get you unstuck:

  • Have we engaged all of our support systems to assist during a period of vulnerability?
  • Which of our talent assets (e.g. adventurousness, adaptability, resourcefulness) would be best to employ in this moment?

As teams move through cycle after cycle, we are always either investing in our foundation, building trust to improve connection, innovating to empower growth or distancing to enable resilience. Know where you are in the cycle and why you are in that stage. Then, ask the questions that prompt the conversations that move the team forward.

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Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.