Moving Stagnant Organizations

Image source

Every team has a few passionate leaders chomping at the bit to create the future. But, dead weight weighs them down.

Most teams lead by consensus, the lowest common denominator.

I believe in leading with teams but struggle with drifters, underperformers, and the fearful who hold organizations back.

It’s frustrating when playing it safe is success, for example.


  1. Leaders who have retired in their positions.
  2. Politically adept but leadership deficient chair holders.
  3. Organizational cultures that honor silence and punish candor.
  4. Lack of intention to build high performance teams that press into the future.


One unselfish person with passion,
skill, courage, and patience changes things.

First, identify untapped opportunities:

  1. Few resources.
  2. Low cost.
  3. Observable results.
  4. Ignites your passion.

Look for something you can lead, not others.

Focus on bringing positive benefit not solving problems or pushing dead weight. Maintain positive focus. Most importantly, forget about convincing the entire team to join you.

Second, leverage allies:

  1. Approach people of influence and bring up your list of untapped opportunities. “I’ve been mulling over…”
  2. Avoid selling your ideas, just lay them out. Ask for more.
  3. Look for something that makes their eyes twinkle and explore it.
  4. Never develop ideas with people who don’t care. Leave them behind if you must.

Have coffee-conversations and toss ideas around until a few bubble to the top. Don’t push people, ignite them. Pushing invites resistance.

Third, pull the trigger:

  1. Choose an opportunity with the most supporters. (Back to looking for the twinkling eyes)
  2. Take personal responsibility. “I’m moving forward with …”
  3. Ask for suggestions.
  4. Develop and share your plan with influencers who buy-in.
  5. Do it on a small scale and share results.
  6. Don’t apologize if criticized; own it.


Look for the biggest bang for the fewest bucks. Remember, something is better than nothing.

How can frustrated leaders create positive impact in organizations where leadership teams are dead weight?