Have you ever felt powerless? People have described that feeling in many different ways: I'm not in control, I had no choice, there was nothing I could do, nowhere to go, we were captive, etc. I could go on. The point that I'd like to convey is that "stuck" is an overwhelming sentiment -- it's emotional.
When we feel trapped, we stop thinking about possibilities and we shut down to any kind of rationalization. Our attitude may go from expansive to uncooperative in a matter of minutes. It's quite normal, actually. Yet this feeling is often chalked up to impatience and rationalized -- everything will be fine as soon as the power comes back on, the tower gives us permission to take off, and any other scenario you can think of.
I say take care of those feelings and bring people back from stuck to unstuck and you will minimize the ill effects towards you and your company and brand. This includes the way your front line employees feel about their jobs. It doesn't matter whose fault it is, the first step in the right direction is to communicate with all the parties involved, then act. Action is your key to credibility.
What happens when you do not act is that people will transfer the frustration they experience onto you. I provide a short example at my weekly post at FC Expert blogs. You will be amazed at the power of small gestures to keep everyone on board. I'm talking about being stuck on a plane that is going nowhere -- and airline snafus seem to be all the rage these days.
I was having lunch with a colleague yesterday and she shared the adventurous tale of her last trip from the West coast. Not only did she have to switch three planes after missing her short connection, face uncooperative airport traffic conditions and airline staff. Once she landed in Philadelphia, she had to bear the contempt of a surly airline employee who was upset at her because she did not see her bag. After all, she had been traveling only for a day and a half with no sleep and the bag was right where it was supposed to be, at another terminal's carousel.
I borrowed the terminology from Keith Yamashita, who I had the good fortune of meeting a few years back. We can go from stuck to unstuck in many ways. Communication, and action are part of the solution. So take a deep breath, acknowledge the situation, and lean forward. Do you have positive examples of how you where able to go, or take someone, from stuck to unstuck to share?