Theory u

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C. OTTO SCHARMER

ADDRESSING THE BLIND SPOT OF OUR TIME
An executive summary of the new book by Otto Scharmer Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges

The Social Technology of Presencing

ADDRESSING THE BLIND SPOT OF OUR TIME
An executive summary of the new book by Otto Scharmer Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges

In his new book Theory U: Leading from the Futureas It Emerges (Cambridge, MA: Society for Organizational Learning, 2007), Otto Scharmer introduces readers to the theory and practice of the U process, based on a concept he calls “presencing.” A blend of the words “presence” and “sensing,” presencing signifies a heightened state of attention that allows individuals and groups to shift the inner place from which they function. When that shifthappens, people begin to operate from a future space of possibility that they feel wants to emerge. Being able to facilitate that shift is, according to Scharmer, the essence of leadership today. At the end of this Executive Summary you will find more complete coverage of how Theory U is being used by numerous stakeholders and corporate innovators, and information on how you might become involved withthe Presencing Institute. Tapping Our Collective Capacity
We live in a time of massive institutional failure, collectively creating results that nobody wants. Climate change. AIDS. Hunger. Poverty. Violence. Terrorism. Destruction of communities, nature, life—the foundations of our social, economic, ecological, and spiritual well-being. This time calls for a new consciousness and a newcollective leadership capacity to meet challenges in a more conscious, intentional, and strategic way. The development of such a capacity will allow us to create a future of greater possibility. We know a great deal about what leaders do and how they do it. But we know very little about the inner place, the source from which they operate. Successful leadership depends on the quality of attention andintention that the leader brings to any situation. Two leaders in the same circumstances doing the same thing can bring about completely different outcomes, depending on the inner place from which each operates. The nature of this inner place in leaders is something of a mystery to us. We do know something about the inner dimensions of athletes because studies have been conducted on what goes on withinan athlete’s mind and imagination in preparation for a competitive event. This knowledge has led to practices designed to enhance athletic performance from the “inside out,” so to speak. But in the arena of management and leading transformational change, we know very little about these inner dimensions, and very seldom are specific techniques applied to enhance management performance from theinside out. In a way, this lack of knowledge constitutes a “blind spot” in our approach to leadership and management.

Illuminating the Blind Spot
Why do our attempts to deal with the challenges of our time so often fail? Why are we stuck in so many quagmires today? The cause of our collective failure is that we are blind to the deeper dimension of leadership and transformational change. This “blindspot” exists not only in our collective leadership but also in our everyday social interactions. We are blind to the source dimension from which effective leadership and social action come into being.

Successful leadership depends on the quality of attention and intention that the leader brings to any situation. Two leaders in the same circumstances doing the same thing can bring aboutcompletely different outcomes, depending on the inner place from which each operates.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Theory U

We know very little about the invisible dimension of leadership, even though it is our source dimension.

RESULTS:
What

PROCESS:
How

disconfirming data. You switch off your inner voice of judgment and listen to the voices right in front of you. You focus on what differs...
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