Theory U: Learning from the Futures as it Emerges

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Berrett-Koehler, 2009 - Business & Economics - 533 pages
We live in a time of massive institutional failure, one that requires a new consciousnessand a new collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, OttoScharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionaryapproach to leadership.What we pay attention to and how we pay attention is key to what we create. Whatprevents us from attending to situations more effectively is our blind spot, the innerplace from which our attention and intention originate. It is blind because we areunaware of how it functions and the enormous influence it has on our perceptionsand hence our actions. By moving through Scharmer's U process, we consciouslyaccess the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self -- the deepestsource of knowledge and inspiration -- in the realm of "presencing," a term coinedby Scharmer that combines the concepts of presence and sensing. Here we are ableto pay attention in a way that allows us to experience the opening of our minds, ourhearts, and our wills. Through this process we shift our awareness, connect withour best future possibility, and gain the ability to realize it.Based on ten years of research and action learning and interviews with over 150practitioners and thought leaders, Theory U develops and explores a new territoryof scientific research, institutional change, and transformational leadership practice.In exploring the complex dynamics of the blind spot, Scharmer shares muchfromhis own personal and professional life and draws from a rich diversity of compellingstories and examples. And he includes dozens of exercises and practices that allowleaders -- and entire organizations -- to participate fully in creating and bringing forththe future that is seeking to emerge through us."Scharmer's Theory U model of how to open our mind, emotions, and will tomoments of discovery and mutual understanding is profound and much needed." (Edgar Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management)"Pushes the envelope of current leadership wisdom and invites you to explore thestrongest leadership tool there is: yourself." (Ralf Schneider, Head of Global Talent Management, PricewaterhouseCoopers)

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About the author (2009)

Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and the founding chair of ELIAS (Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors), a program linking twenty leading global institutions from business, government, and civil society in order to prototype profound system innovations for a more sustainable world. He also is the founding chair of the Presencing Institute and a visiting professor at the Center for Innovation and Knowledge Research, Helsinki School of Economics. Scharmer has consulted with global companies, international institutions, and cross-sector change initiatives in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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