Dynamic Incompleteness


Co-creation causes co-ownership.



Great leaders bring just enough vision to move and inspire people. They present their vision and invite others to contribute their ideas to fill in the gaps.


TRANFORMATIONAL leadership and complex problem solving require the development of a clear, shared, and cogent vision. The worst leaders bring no vision. Almost as bad are the leaders who bring too much vision. The latter have ALL the answers about how things will be in the future. Their simple message is, “follow me.”


Great leaders inspire others to contribute to completing the vision, and in so doing, own the responsibility for bringing it into being. People develop a deep sense of ownership in what they help to create. Ownership of the vision increases the probability of its success. This process is called DYNAMIC INCOMPLETENESS. It is also known as “The Swiss Cheese Rule.”


Think of a vision as a giant piece of Swiss cheese, delicious and full of holes. The leader’s invitation to share the vision encourages others to plug the holes with more Swiss cheese by adding their contribution. Their actions, in turn, invite more people to plug other holes with more Swiss cheese.


DYNAMIC INCOMPLETENESS recognizes that people resist completeness. The greatest visions are inspiring, ENNOBLING and empowering because they’re incomplete. They touch people deeply and move them to say, “Yes, I’m inspired by what’s here, and I can fill in some of the holes.” This PRIME reveals the balance between the need for a leader to set out ideas about the future and to leave some things for the group to figure out.



When people exhibit enthusiasm about the organization’s vision, proactively suggesting ways they can support it and taking responsibility for their actions, they are engaging in DYNAMIC INCOMPLETENESS, to the benefit of all. 



DYNAMIC INCOMPLETENESS is a terrific way to reinvigorate leaders and unburden them from the impossible task of owning all aspects of an organization’s success. Leaders who adhere to this PRIME inspire loyalty and appreciation.