Reviving a stalled car

One day on our family’s way into town, we passed by a car stalled in the middle of an overpass. This overpass is known for it’s particularly awkward intersection. Somehow a good Samaritan had managed to pull his car around nose-to-nose with the stalled car so that he could boost its battery.

We live in a relatively small town, so traffic hadn’t become a major nuisance during the incident. Everyone cooperated to allow this stalled vehicle to get the help it needed without making it into a big production.

A learning development project (or any project for that matter) can be a lot like a car with all of its moving parts. However, unlike a car, there are several variables that may be out of your control. Sooner or later, everyone finds themselves as part of a stalled project.

The question is: when you find that your project is stalled in the middle of the metaphorical highway overpass, does the culture of your organization allow for simple recovery and can you call in help that is flexible enough to face oncoming traffic? Or will fixing the problem be a big production and cause an otherwise unnecessary pileup?

When people leave for vacation at the end of the year, projects have a tendency to stall. As we dive into 2015 and pick up where we left off, take a look at the health of your projects. For those that are stalled, consider evaluating more than just the cause of the hold-up.

Take a look at what happens when you try to revive the project.

Who jumps in to help? Does anyone even notice? How does the organization react? What barriers do you have to cross to get the help you need?

As you look for solutions, answering some of these questions will tell you a lot about the culture of your organization. If you find friction, perhaps you need a new project to address the friction instead of trying to revive something that will take you down the same road that led to the problem in the first place.


Interested in learning how you can use the power of story to design your training experience? Sign up to receive the latest articles and exclusive updates for an upcoming book on the topic.