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Enabling teams to work better together

Is Constipaction Crippling Your Crew?

Constipaction definition

You know that uncomfortable feeling in your gut when you’re unable to progress something that needs to be done?

And the longer you leave it, the pressure just gets worse and more worrying?

Maybe you’re procrastinating, or someone else is and you can’t go further until they make their next move[ment].

Maybe there are other reasons for the project delay, like …

… there’s so much going on you’ve lost sight of the goal.
… the task you’ve been assigned never really made sense to begin with.
… you don’t have what you need or know who to ask to get it.
… you can’t make a decision because you have too many options and no useful criteria for considering them all.

That’s constipaction.

Action that’s stuck, compacting, getting harder to shift and causing more discomfort as time passes; meanwhile, what’s stuck doesn’t.

Writer’s block is a kind of constipaction.

What you need or want to say is not moving freely from your brain to the blank page or screen in front of you.

It’s there, you know it, you feel it, but it won’t materialise, and with every tick-tick you hear towards your deadline, the discomfort intensifies.

It can turn into a completely different type of writer’s cramp.

Google writer’s block and you’ll find all kinds of common causes and strategies to overcome it.

I even cover it in my Trim and Tone Your Writing in 7 Easy Steps online course (ideal for anyone whose communication capability gets a bit bogged in business).

But what about other kinds of constipaction?

Like when you have a project delay, a service is backlogged, or a task is churning in circles instead of flowing in the right direction?

The signs and symptoms of constipaction are easily recognised:

  • Forgotten files flattened to the bottom of in-trays.
  • Emails amassing in overwhelmed in-boxes.
  • Missed calls and messages marked unread.
  • Vexed faces in video conferences.
  • Milestones becoming millstones.
  • Deadlines disregarded.
  • Budgets blown out.

The major cause and culprit?

Crappy communication.

  • Not expressing expectations clearly and consistently.
  • Misinterpreting responses because there’s no shared meaning.
  • Words and actions that don’t appear to go together.
  • Too much or not enough or poorly presented information.

Project Management Institute report revealed that ineffective communication is the main reason for project failure one-third of the time. It also has the biggest negative impact on project success more than half the time.

Pointing fingers, digging toes in, slinging salvos, shifting the goalposts, huffing, puffing, putting out spot fires…these typical counteractions rarely budge the boulder.

When the lights won’t switch on, do you call a plumber?

Nope, you contact the sparky to come and fix the problem. You get the best person to do it, so you can get on with what you do best. That’s the productive solution.

Constipaction can be relieved by engaging your team members in doing the parts of the project that are best suited to their strengths, motivations, and personality profiles.

In True Colors-speak (the communication code that every team can learn), this is how constipaction (a-k-a project delay) is avoided:

  • Get your Greens to design the workings and the work-arounds. They’re excellent innovators.
  • Begin your Blues on the people tasks, ensuring everyone has what they need to get on board and keep going.
  • Organise your Oranges to start on immediate actions, scouting the territory ahead to navigate any potential obstacles.
  • Give your Golds the jobs that track the timeline, tick the boxes, and tie up loose ends.

“Looks like useful advice, Leanne, but what if you don’t know who’s what colour in your crew?”

To figure out why your team’s output is causing more strain than gain, and to be rid of that gutful of blame-game, let’s get you a dose of True Colors training – stat!

It’s an evidence-based ‘treatment’ for understanding what makes people think, behave and react as they do, which has been transforming team performance worldwide since 1978.

Learn more about how True Colors can help your people work better together here so you can stop project delays sooner.

Or you can call 0439 53 43 55 or email (put Constipaction in the subject line!)

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