3 Types of Stuck: Rimrocked, Plateaued & Picassoed

3 Types of Stuck: Rimrocked, Plateaued & PicassoedWhy consider which way you’re stuck? Stuck is stuck, right?

The way you’re stuck matters.

Take a wrong step and you fall off a cliff. Or you wander in wilderness for 40 years. Both unpleasant, but one kind of stuck is felt faster than the other.

Here are 3 types I’ve seen:

  • Rimrocked
  • Plateaued
  • Picassoed

Type #1 Stuck: RimrockedRimrocked

This is where you’re stuck going up AND can easily go down. Quickly.

Being rimrocked is a precarious and tenuous place.

For contractors, rimrocked sales means nothing significant is coming in. And there’s a strong likelihood several large, anchor contracts may go away. Think rebids.

For contractors, rimrocked profits mean margins are eroding to dangerously thin levels. Your knuckles are getting white holding on.

For customers, rimrocked means not getting improved results when you need them. Could be cost savings, service quality, or customer satisfaction. Insignificant progress towards departmental or company goals means someone’s head will roll.

Type #2 Stuck: PlateauedPlateaued

This is where you can go left or right, forward or backward. But never, never up. Never to the next level.

Being plateaued is not nightmarishly scary. Death comes from atrophy. Your potential, enthusiasm, or career path withers up and dies.

Contractors are plateaued when desired growth is painfully steeper than actual. Or profit is barely acceptable.

Customers are plateaued when not monitoring contractors’ results and actively leading them to the next level. Results are just OK.

Another plateaued sign is when your response to change is “been there, done that” and no action is taken. Start looking overhead for vultures.

Type #3 Stuck: PicassoedPicassoed

This is where you’re trying radically different approaches, quickly one after another. You look busy, feel overwhelmed, but you’re not getting anywhere. You’re stuck.

You know you’re Picassoed when your desk, corkboard, or to-do list look cubist. Like a Picasso painting, seeing everything from many different sides, all at the same time.

Picassoed is more than not knowing where you’re going. It means you don’t know where you are. You’re lost, from too much, too fast.

Getting Unstuck

There probably isn’t one answer to getting unstuck. You’ll need to figure out how to unstick yourself.

But here are some thoughts about these 3 types.


  • Time is critical
  • Quickly scan results (KPIs, revenue, margins)
  • Consider something different, unusual
  • Look laterally
  • Ask employees, contractors, customers for ideas
  • Take a small step quickly


  • Step back – get the bigger picture
  • Get an outside perspective
  • Assess situation; where you are, have been & want to go
  • Focus on strategic direction
  • Map out actions from strategy to first step
  • Plan success measurements
  • Initiate first step
  • GPS progress


  • Take time out – slow you’re breathing
  • Set time aside for formal planning
  • Revisit who you are (core organizational message)
  • Road map straight & narrow course towards your aspirational vision
  • Restart actions but with one eye on road map
  • Course correct only when off the road, minor wabbles OK

What do you do to get unstuck?

Image credits: bogged down on the beach by broterham, Glen Canyon by mandj98, sand wind in Mauritania by christing-O-


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