compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
We live in an era of clashing conflict and massive institutional failures,
a time of endings and of beginnings. A time that feels as if something
profound is shifting and dying while something else, as Vaclav Havel put it,
wants to be born: “I think there are good reasons for suggesting that the
modern age has ended. Today, many things indicate that we are going
through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way
out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were
crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself— while something else, still
indistinct, were rising from the rubble.” ***
In Leading from the Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer
take us on a journey from our current age of disruption to finding
individual and collective ways to lead from the future as it emerges.
The journey flows along the curve of the “U” - the process of Theory U -
a transformational process of observing, reflecting and acting. In this
logical and deep exploration, the authors create an emerging framework
for transforming institutions, society, relationships, and the self and
outline a process we can use individually and collectively to get there.
They address some of the most complex systemic problems facing society
and show how individuals and groups operating at a new level of thinking
are transforming institutions and themselves, resulting in new and
innovative solutions that could define the 21st century.
"The quality of the results in any kind of system is a function of the
awareness that people in the system are operating from. Even though our
world is interconnected in ways unimaginable even a decade ago, in many
cases our awareness - whether as individuals, organizations or nations -
is still limited and local. To use an analogy from biology, even though our
actions affect the larger ecosystem of which we are a part - in fact the
multiple interacting economic, social, political and environmental
ecosystems - we sill behave as though our actions are narrow in scope
and impact. We see ourselves as part of a far smaller, more isolated
Scharmer and Kaufer explain why actions based on this “ego-system”
awareness not only result in recurring crises, but doom any attempt to
resolve them - we are trying to meet new challenges with an obsolete
mindset. To show the shape of the emerging future they bring this
ecosystem awareness to bear on areas such as labor, capital, production,
technology, leadership, ownership and many others, offering a blueprint
for a new society based on a profound understanding of how the actions
of each affects the many.
baggage of old habits of thought and then crossing through the gate to
an economy that operates more consciously, inclusively, and collectively.
discourse today: how to respond to the current waves of disruptive
change form a deep place that connects us to an emerging future,
rather than reacting against the patterns of the past, which
usually means perpetuating them.
*** President Vaclav Havel, speech in Philadelphia, July 4, 1994. I am indebted to Goran Carstadt for calling this speech to my attention - Otto Scharmer
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