Andrea M. Delligatti, Ph.D.
Psychologist    •    Executive Coach    •    Mediator
"Creating psychologically healthy workplaces"
The "Gordian Knot" is a metaphor for an intractable problem eventually solved by the ability to "think outside the box" to achieve success.





Glass sculpture of a Gordian Knot

Greek Legend of the Gordian Knot


In ancient times, there was a country that had no legitimate king. An oracle decreed that the next man to enter the city with an ox-cart should become king. A poor peasant named Gordius arrived in the public square with his wife, an ox-cart and, indeed, he was declared King. In gratitude to the gods, he dedicated his ox-cart to Zeus, tying it to a post with a highly intricate knot, later known as a Gordian Knot. Another oracle foretold that the person who untied the knot would rule all of Asia.

People came and went from the city for centuries and no one was able to loosen the knot. Then in the 4th Century B.C. while wintering in Gordium, a young man approached the ox-cart, but could find no loose end to unbind the knot. After careful consideration, he took his sword and unfastened the knot by slicing it in half. That young man was later known as Alexander, the Great!

What is your Gordian Knot?


Businesses are confronted with "Gordian Knots" on a daily basis – mostly by employees who prove to be particularly challenging. Perhaps…

  • an executive vice president who does not fit in with senior management,
  • a new manager who does not know how to motivate people, or
  • a high conflict team that repeatedly fails to meet delivery deadlines.

You may have discovered that the "knot" is so complex and intertwined that it has defied all attempts to loosen it. Often, the more determined we are to "untie the knot," the tighter it becomes! We feel stuck, frustrated, overwhelmed.

However, with our assistance your organization can begin to view your Gordian Knots from different perspectives and discover the solutions that have previously eluded you.

Contact AndreaDelligatti@amdphd.com to learn how.

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