Why We Need a Compass for Better Co-creation

Let us remember – better co-creation is about increasing the impact for sustainability by getting things done faster, coming to better decisions, saving money, and being more content as we achieve results jointly. Collective leadership for sustainability is the capacity of a group of actors to deliver their contribution to a joint purpose collaboratively, while putting high priority on the common good, and a balance between the needs of people, profit, and planet.

The Collective Leadership Compass is a practice-oriented approach to leading complex change in multi-actor settings. It empowers leaders to navigate successful collaboration settings for sustainable development in an integrative, inclusive way by attending to a pattern of human competences in interaction in six dimensions. It strengthens the competence to navigate the How, What, Why, Where to, When, With Whom, and What For of our initiatives for sustainability. It can be used to strengthen our individual leadership skills, to enhance the leadership capacity of a group of actors, and to shift systems of collaborating actors toward better co-creation.

At each level there is an inward aspect – looking at how the individual develops – and an outward aspect – looking at how a collective jointly enacts future in collaboration with others.

My experience from successful collaboration in complex multi-actor settings is that the key to better co-creation is the attention to a recursive pattern of human competences. The six dimensions of Collective Leadership compose such a pattern: FUTURE POSSIBILITIES, ENGAGEMENT, INNOVATION, HUMANITY, COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE, and WHOLENESS.

Each dimension has its own dynamic and can be fostered and developed in many ways. With sufficient attention to each dimension and ultimately to their togetherness they mutually reinforce each other’s strength. Leading collectively becomes the natural way to bring forth a desirable future when we enhance our competence to make these six dimensions present – as individuals, as a team of leaders, and as a collective.

The dimensions are not new; they are as old as humankind. What is new is paying more conscious attention to their joint presence. It helps us navigate through human difficulties and enhances the vitality of individuals and collectives.

Using the Compass is like learning to design and implement a pattern by keeping the six dimensions in an appropriately balanced composition and ensuring that none gets lost. This enhances the likelihood of better co-creation; we become more efficient, more effective, better at learning quickly, more adaptive, and above all, oriented toward a future that our kids also want to live in. As a collective, we become more resilient – a capacity we need in a complex, interdependent and quickly changing world. When we accept that the future is constantly emerging as a result of encounters between people, we become more aware of the pattern of human competences in interaction.

What do I mean by pattern of human competences in interaction? My experience is that the Collective Leadership Compass resonates with people; it strengthens their confidence that the long path into a more sustainable future can be travelled together. We need to remember that people are only prepared to change their behavior when they resonate with a future possibility that is touching their hearts. Then they happily welcome catalysts for change.

Humankind is part of life’s inherent tendency for creative unfolding into forms of increasing diversity and complexity. The more we realize this, the more we become the partner of evolution – and can learn the art of resilience.

The Collective Leadership Compass can help us stay on track when we have to weather storms and uncertainties.

Before we dive into the Compass, I would like to pre-empt four possible misunderstandings:

First, the Compass is not a recipe for all challenges that humankind faces – it is a tool that, used wisely, can help us to better co-create, in collaboration and in leading change for sustainability.

Second, the Compass does not reduce the complexity of today’s world, but it helps structuring our approach how to deal with complexity.

Third, some define collective leadership through a direction set by the top has to be followed by everybody; that is not what is meant here. A collaboratively delivered contribution to a joint purpose, as I have defined it, will inevitably include differences, conflicts and the search for the right path.

Fourth, in some people’s understanding collective leadership excludes hierarchy and power differences – they assume that we are all equal. I would deny this. We are not, but we can acknowledge each other’s humanness and each person’s right to lead to the future. When we accept that the future is constantly emerging as a result of encounters between people, we become more aware of the pattern of human competences in interaction

The Collective Leadership Compass – helps you navigate your collaboration journey on and find the necessary course corrections.

With it, you can:

  • Prepare the journey into collaboration from the outset.
  • Locate where you are, define what is present and what is missing.
  • Map the path, adjust your strategies, and know what to shift, to strengthen or to focus on.
  • Help you inspire your colleagues that leading collectively for sustainability can change the world.


This blog post looks at the Collective Leadership Compass as a whole and here specifically at the level of collectiveleadership skills.  For more insights on leading collectively with the Compass, subscribe to my blog. For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and  reviews on amazon.com, or get inspired by an onsite course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change

Categories: Allgemein.


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