Understanding the Stress Cycle

Understanding the Stress Cycle is vital. If you are concerned about delivery take a moment to consider the bigger picture.

Understanding the Stress Cycle

Fred is frazzled. Things are not going his way and it’s causing stress.

What happens when stress levels rise?

We manage pretty well, until we reach a tipping point when our thinking brains begin go off-line. Our survival instincts and emotions kick in, we become more defensive and find it harder to act in a rational manner. If the stress is high enough it can trigger a fight, flight or freeze response.

Fred is holding it together, but the impact on those around him is palpable. It’s subtle stuff. No one wants to provoke an outburst, so they’re giving him a wide berth. It doesn’t do much for trust, or for open communication. Relationships are getting strained.

Successful delivery relies on collaboration and creativity. When the project started Fred and his senior colleagues went out of their way to emphasise the need to invest time in building relationships and ensuring people worked well together.

But now the pressure’s on, the primary focus is metrics.

And the word on the street? The project is unlikely to achieve the desired outcomes – which does nothing for stress levels.

Stakeholders are getting antsy and wanting a greater sense of control they are demanding more and more information, in slightly different formats.

Wanting a greater sense of control, stakeholders are demanding more and more information in slightly different formats

These demands distract the team from the work they should be doing, and add to the stress.

Staff have less time and less inclination to work collaboratively. They are falling into old habits and a preoccupation with spreadsheets and metrics.

These behaviours reduce the chance of success and multiply stress – right across the system.

Sound familiar?

And we’ve only looked at what happens when one person, Fred, is frazzled.


Contact us for help in navigating uncertainty and achieving higher productivity and better outcomes with less stress