Theory U 2nd Edition

Leading from the Future as It Emerges

C. Otto Scharmer (Author) | Peter Senge (Foreword by)

Publication date: 08/11/2016

Theory U
Access the deepest source of inspiration and vision

We live in a time of massive institutional failure that manifests in the form of three major divides: the ecological, the social, and the spiritual. Addressing these challenges requires a new consciousness and collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary approach to learning and leadership.

In most large systems today, we collectively create results that no one wants. What keeps us stuck in such patterns of the past? It's our blind spot, that is, our lack of awareness of the inner place from which our attention and intention originate. By moving through Scharmer's U process, we consciously access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self—the deepest source of knowledge and inspiration.
Theory U offers a rich diversity of compelling stories, examples, exercises, and practices that allow leaders, organizations, and larger systems to cosense and coshape the future that is wanting to emerge.

This second edition features a new preface in which Scharmer identifies five transformational trends and describes U process case stories around the world. There are also eight color drawings by Kelvy Bird that capture U journey applications and illustrate the concepts in the book, as well as new resources for applying the principles and practices.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt

Paperback:
9781626567986

$39.95
(member price: $35.96)
Free shipping on all orders from the BK Publishers store.
Or find a local bookseller with Indiebound.

Other Available Formats and Editions

9781626567993

$39.95
(member price: $27.97)

9781626568006

$39.95
(member price: $27.97)
Bulk Discounts
Rights Information


Featured Books



El corazón del liderazgo

What makes for a truly exceptional leader? Certainly, leaders need people skills, execution skills, a deep knowledge of industry trends, the...

More About This Product

Overview

Access the deepest source of inspiration and vision

We live in a time of massive institutional failure that manifests in the form of three major divides: the ecological, the social, and the spiritual. Addressing these challenges requires a new consciousness and collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary approach to learning and leadership.

In most large systems today, we collectively create results that no one wants. What keeps us stuck in such patterns of the past? It's our blind spot, that is, our lack of awareness of the inner place from which our attention and intention originate. By moving through Scharmer's U process, we consciously access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self—the deepest source of knowledge and inspiration.
Theory U offers a rich diversity of compelling stories, examples, exercises, and practices that allow leaders, organizations, and larger systems to cosense and coshape the future that is wanting to emerge.

This second edition features a new preface in which Scharmer identifies five transformational trends and describes U process case stories around the world. There are also eight color drawings by Kelvy Bird that capture U journey applications and illustrate the concepts in the book, as well as new resources for applying the principles and practices.

Back to Top ↑

Meet the Author & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - C. Otto Scharmer

Dr. Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U and co-author of Presence, is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the founding chair of the Presencing Institute. He also is faculty chair of MIT’s IDEAS program and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. In 2012 he co-founded the Global Well-Being and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, which links innovators from Bhutan, India, China, Brazil, Europe, and the United States in order to prototype profound innovations in government, business, education, and civil society. He has worked with governments, UN organizations, companies, and NGOs in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, and he has delivered award-winning leadership and innovation programs for clients including Alibaba, Daimler, Eileen Fisher, Fujitsu, Google, Natura, and PriceWaterhouse. Scharmer is currently a vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Leadership Models. He holds a PhD in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. He lives with his family in the Boston area. More information about Scharmer and his work can be found at www.presencing.com and www.ottoscharmer.com.



Foreword by Peter Senge
Foreword author Peter Senge is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning North America and the coauthor of the bestselling book, The Fifth Discipline.

Back to Top ↑


Excerpt

Theory U

Chapter 1

Images

Facing the Fire

When I left my German farmhouse that morning for school, I had no idea it was the last time I would see my home, a large 350-year-old farmhouse thirty miles north of Hamburg. It was just another ordinary day at school until about one o’clock, when the teacher called me out of class. “You should go home now, Otto.” I noticed that her eyes were slightly red. She did not tell me why I needed to hurry home, but I was concerned enough to try to call home from the train station. There was no ring. The line was obviously dead. I had no idea what might have happened, but by then I knew it probably wasn’t good. After the usual one-hour train ride I ran to the entrance of the station and jumped into a cab. Something told me I didn’t have time to wait for my usual bus. Long before the cab arrived, I saw huge gray and black clouds of smoke billowing up into the air. My heart was pounding as the cab approached our long driveway. I recognized hundreds of our neighbors, area firefighters, and policemen along with people I’d never seen before. I jumped from the cab and ran down through the crowd, the last half mile of our chestnut-lined driveway. When I reached the courtyard, I could not believe my eyes. The world I had lived in all my life was gone. Vanished. All up in smoke.

There was nothing—absolutely nothing—left except the raging flames. As the reality of the fire in front of my eyes began to sink in, I felt as if somebody had ripped away the ground from under my feet. The place of my birth, childhood, and youth was gone. I just stood there, taking in the heat of the fire and feeling time slowing down. As my gaze sank deeper and deeper into the flames, the flames also seemed to sink into me. Suddenly I realized how attached I had been to all the things destroyed by the fire. Everything I thought I was had dissolved into nothing. Everything? No, perhaps not everything, for I felt that a tiny element of my self still existed. Somebody was still there, watching all this. Who?

At that moment I realized there was a another dimension of my self that I hadn’t previously been aware of, a dimension that related not to my past experiences—the world that had just dissolved in front of my eyes—but to my future possibilities, a world that I could bring into reality with my life. At that moment time slowed down to stillness, and I felt drawn in a direction above my physical body and began watching the scene from that unknown place. I felt my mind quieting and expanding in a moment of unparalleled clarity of awareness. I realized that I was not the person I had thought I was. My real self was not attached to all the material possessions smoldering inside the ruins. I suddenly knew that I, my true Self, was still alive! It was this “I” that was the seer. And this seer was more alive, more awake, more acutely present than the “I” I had known before. I was no longer weighted down by all the material possessions the fire had just consumed. With everything gone, I was lighter and free, released to encounter the other part of my self, the part that drew me into the future—into my future—into a world waiting for me, that I might bring into reality with my forward journey.

The next day my eighty-seven-year old grandfather arrived for what would be his last visit to the farm. He had lived in that house all his life, beginning in 1890. Because of medical treatments, he had been away the week before the fire, and when he arrived at the courtyard the day after the fire, he summoned his last energy, got out of the car, and went straight to where my father was working on the cleanup. He did not even once turn his head to the smoking ruins. Without seeming to notice the small fires still burning around the property, he went up to my father, took his hand, and said, “Kopf hoch, mein Junge, blick nach vorn!” “Keep your head up, my boy, look forward!” Then he turned, walked directly back to the waiting car, and left. A few days later he died quietly.

Only years later did I realize that my experience in front of the fire was the beginning of a journey. My journey began with the recognition that I am not just one self but two selves. One self is connected to the past, and the second self connects to who I could become in the future. In front of the fire I experienced how these two selves started to connect to each other. Today, thirty-seven years later and several thousand miles away in Boston, Massachusetts, these two questions appear to be more relevant than ever: “Who is my true self?” and “How does this self relate to the other stream of time—the one that seemed to draw me from the future that wants to emerge?”

The journey of Theory U is basically an inquiry into this question: How can we access these deeper sources of time, being, and self in a way that is reliable, practical, and collective—and that works without your family farmhouse going up in flames every morning? These questions eventually prompted me to leave Germany for the United States in 1994 to continue my research at the MIT Organizational Learning Center.

Back to Top ↑

Endorsements

“Scharmer's Theory U model of how to open our mind, emotions, and will to moments of discovery and mutual understanding is profound and much needed.”
—Edgar Schein, Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management

“The impact of the Theory U method on our organization is remarkable, but even more important is the amazing personal growth many leaders have experienced. Scharmer's work has allowed them to experience a new approach to the world.”
—Marcia Marsh, Chief Operating Officer, World Wildlife Fund

“Theory U offers a unique integral perspective combined with a practical approach to addressing the megaissues facing our world today.”
—Jack Jacometti, Director, Institute for Integrated Economic Research 

“This book is an inspiration. It gives definition to the mystery of the creative process.”
—Eileen Fisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer, Eileen Fisher Inc.

Back to Top ↑