More than ever, leaders are quietly sharing a dilemma.  It’s different for each of them, but often sounds something like this:

  • We’re stuck.
  • We’re in a malaise.
  • We’re in a funk.

Yes, the recession is supposed to over.  But the unraveling of the past 12-18 months has left many organizations feeling becalmed – and many leaders a little stumped.  Intuitively, they know their organizations have to get going again – to regain momentum somehow – and they know that they will more than likely be catalysts.  Events have simmered down enough so that some leaders are even gathering their closest colleagues to look a little further out and doing some planning.

It’s right here that these leaders reach a challenging cross-roads.It’s tempting to huddle with the few to get the right answer and then to roll it out to the many.  If anything, the events of the last year reinforce this approach.  Too many of us have spent too many hours huddled in rooms trying to deal with the crises that have come our way.  Many of our solutions have (appropriately) included reducing costs.  Many of those cost reductions (unfortunately but often appropriately) required reductions in staff. And most of those staff reduction conversations (appropriately) were done in confidential environments.

But now leaders are left with their trusted inner circle who have walked through this fire with them – and a remaining set of colleagues who probably feel a little on the outside and more than a little insecure about the future.

No wonder things feel a little stalled out…

Here’s a fundamental, proven principle we use in our work with clients:

Those who create things, own them.

The corollary, of course, is that those who own things help turn them into action and results.  So when leaders want to increase ownership in their organization, they should look at how to enlarge the circle of those involved in creation.

Lest you think I’m advocating the lunatics running the asylum (as the cliche goes), I’m not.  Instead, I’m simply suggesting that each of us looks around to see what we wish others would join us in – and then try to expand the circle of people involved in creating that new (plan, product, solution, structure, whatever!).

Leaders legitimately wrestle with reluctance about enlarging the circle – a subject for a future post – but enlarging the creative coalition just may start the starting point for getting the momentum rolling again.