24 Principles of Large Scale Leadership and Change Management Interventions

The method of U(Theory U by MIT Prof.Dr. Otto Scharmer) is summarized in 24 Principles.

  1. Listen to What Life Calls You to Do: The essence of the U Process is to strengthen our ability to be present and consciously co-create.
  2. Listen and Dialogue with Interesting Players on the Edges: The second domain of listening takes you out of your familiar world and to the edges and corners of the system.
  3. Clarify Intention and Core Questions: Do not rush the first step of clarifying the intention and core questions that guide the inquiry. The quality of the creative design process is a function of the quality of the problem statement that defines your starting point.
  4. Convene a Diverse Core Group around a Shared Intention: Convene a constellation of players that need one another to take action and to move forward. This is not about getting people to ‘buy-in’ but looking for people with shared intention. The quality of impact of your initiative depends on the quality of the shared intention by the Core Team.
  5. Build the Container (Holding Space for the future to Emerge): The quality of that shared intention largely depends on the quality of the container, the holding space that shapes and cultivates the web of relationships. The most important leverage point for building a high-impact container is right at the beginning, when you set the tone, when you evoke and activate the field. Container building includes outer and inner conditions, the most important of which is collective listening to the different voices and to the whole.
  6. Build a Highly Committed Core Team: To create focus and commitment, clarify: What: What you want to create; Why: Why is matters; How – the process that will get you there; Who – The roles and responsibilities of all key players involved; When and Where – the road map ahead
  7. Taking Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential: Learning journeys connect people to the contexts and ideas that are relevant to creating the possible future. The deep-dive journey moves one’s operating perspective from inside a familiar world – the institutional bubble – to an unfamiliar world outside that is surprising, fresh, disturbing, exciting and new.
  8. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend Your Voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder
  9. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue: Connect with Your Mind and Heart Wide Open
  10. Collective Sense Making: Use Social Presencing Theater and Embodied Knowing
  11. Circles: Charging the Container
  12. Letting Go: The Presence of the Circle Being
  13. Intentional Silence: Pick a Practice that helps you
  14. Follow Your Journey: Do what You Love, Love What You Do
  15. Letting Come: Presencing the Future Wanting to Emerge
  16. The Power of Intention: Crystallize Your Vision and Intent
  17. Form Core Groups: Five People Can Change the World
  18. Create a Platform or Place: Innovation happens in places. In nature, before the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, it needs the shelter of the cocoon.
  19. Build a 0.8 Prototype
  20. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Always Be in Dialogue with the Universe
  21. Seek it with your Hands: Integrate Head, Heart and Hand
  22. Create Enabling Infrastructures That Allow the System to Sense and See Itself
  23. Create Massive Capacity-Building Mechanisms
  24. Labs and Platforms for Cultivating the Social Soil: The objective is to create a platform that helps this emerging global movement to become aware of itself.

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Innovating from the Future – Part 4: Co-Creating: Crystallizing and Prototyping the New (Spirit of Design Thinking and Mindfulness)

The aim of co-creating is to build landing strips for the future through prototypes that allow us to explore the future by doing. The prototypes evolve based on the feedback they generate.

The ‘observe,observe,observe’ of the co-sensing phase becomes ‘iterate,iterate,iterate’.

This method is inspired by design thinking and blended with presencing principles to make it relevant to profound shifts in social fields.

Outcomes of Co-creating:

  1. A set of refined prototypes – living microcosms of the future-that have generated meaningful feedback regarding the guiding questions and objectives of the lab.
  2. A set of connections with stakeholders and partners that are relevant for taking the prototype to pilot and scale.
  3. Enhanced leadership and innovation capacities for dealing with disruptive innovation.
  4. A team spirit that could help change the leadership culture in the company
  5. Creative confidence among the team members to take on big and complex projects.

PRINCIPLES:

  1. The Power of Intention: Crystallize your Vision and Intent
  2. Form Core Groups: Five People can change the World
  3. Create a Platform or Place for Innovation
  4. Build a 0.8 Prototype (Work in Progress Models)
  5. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate: Always be in Dialogue with the Universe
  6. Seek it with your Hands: Integrate the intelligence of the Head, Heart and Hand

7 Rs of Prototyping

  1. Is it Relevant? Does it matter to the stakeholders involved? Is it truly relevant individually, institutionally and socially?
  2. Is it Revolutionary? Is it new? Is it transformative to the system?
  3. Is it Rapid? Can you do it quickly? Can yo develop experiments right away with enough time to get feedback and adapt(and thus avoid analysis paralysis)?
  4. Is it Rough? Can you do it on a small scale? Can you do it at the lowest possible resolution that allows for meaningful experimentation? Can you do it locally. to let the local context teach you how to get it right?
  5. Is it Right? Can you see the whole in the microcosm that you are focused on? Does this idea allow you to put the spot light on the most critical variable?
  6. Is it relationally effective? Does it leverage the strengths, competencies and resources of the existing networks and communities?
  7. Is it replicable? Can you scale it? Any innovation in business or society hinges on it replicability and whether it can grow to scale.

Next write up: Co-Shaping: Grow Innovation Eco-Systems

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 3: Presencing

Presencing: Connecting to the highest future potential

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

After deeply immersing yourself in the contexts of most potential, the next movement focuses on connecting to your deeper source of knowing – the sources of creativity and Self.

Presencing, the blending of sensing and presence, means to operate from the sources of one’s highest future possibility in the now.

In many ways, presencing resembles co-sensing. Both involve shifting the inner place of operating from the head to the heart. The Key difference is that sensing shifts the place of perception to the current whole, while Presencing shifts the place of perception to the emerging future whole.

Presencing uses your higher self as a vehicle for embodying the future wants to emerge.

The fundamental 2 questions that one needs to answer (allow the answer to emerge) are:

  1. Who is my SELF?
  2. What is my WORK?

Outcomes of Presencing:

Whatever form the presencing movement takes, it should result in the following outcomes:

  1. A set of prototyping initiatives
  2. Core Teams for each prototype initiative
  3. A 3D map of each prototype initiative: current reality, future state, leverage points
  4. A list of key stakeholders for each prototype
  5. An inspired energy in the team
  6. A place and support infrastructure for the path forward
  7. A list of potential additional team members that need to be onboarded (part-time)
  8. Milestones for reviewing the progress and learning for each prototype
  9. An emerging leadership narrative: the story of us, the story of self, and the story of now

Principles of Presencing:

  1. Circles: Charging the Container (the holding space)
  2. Letting Go: The Presence of the Circle Being
  3. Intentional Silence: Pick a practice that helps you connect with your Source.
  4. Follow your Journey: Do what you love, love what you do
  5. Letting Come: Presencing the Future Wanting to Emerge

Next write up: Co-Creation: Crystallizing and Prototyping the New

This write up is based on the Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 2: Co-Sensing

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Having initiated a common intention with a core group, the next step is to form a team to take a deep-dive innovation journey through the stages of co-sensing, presencing, prototyping and institutionalizing.

The Core group which often includes the executive sponsors and the team(execution team) tend to overlap. In small systems, the overlap could be 100 %. In larger systems, the over lap will be less.

The essence of co-sensing is getting out of one’s own bubble.

Our virtual bubbles(social media echo chambers), our institutional bubbles (organizational echo chambers), and our own affinity bubbles(the kind of people we like to hang out with) keep us in the world of downloading: same old, same old.

At its core, co-sensing is about immersing yourself in new contexts that matter to your situation and that are unfamiliar to you.

Outcomes of Co-Sensing:

Whatever you do in the co-sensing phase, make sure that you generate the following:

  1. A revised set of driving forces that reshape the system at issue.
  2. A revised set of core questions
  3. A set of insights into opportunities related to each of them
  4. A set of personal connections to those opportunities
  5. A core team that is ‘Switched ON’ to sensing profound opportunities
  6. A mapping of the systemic barriers that keep the system on its current track
  7. An improved capacity for building generative stakeholder relationships

PRINCIPLES:

  1. Building a Highly Committed Core Team
  2. Take Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential
  3. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend your voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder.
  4. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue: Connect with Your Mind and Heart Wide Open
  5. Collective Sense Making

Next Topic: Presencing

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 1: Co-Initiating

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Co-Initiating: Uncovering Shared Intention:

The starting point of the process is to build a container (a holding space) for a core group that is going through the process together.

This first stage lays the foundation for the later process and its impact. This first step of co-initiating focuses on uncovering common intention.

Listening is the Key.

  • Listening to your own intention or to what life calls you to do (listening to oneself)
  • Listening to your core partners in the field (listening to others)
  • Listening to what you are called to do now (listening to what emerges)

Outcomes of Co-Initiating:

Whatever you do during the movement of co-initiation, make sure that by the end of that stage you have established the following:

  1. A Shared intention of what you want to create
  2. Critical questions you need to explore
  3. A core group that guides the initiative
  4. A core team to dive into the U process
  5. Deep Listening and Conversation Practices
  6. An effective support structure
  7. Resources: People, Place, Budget
  8. An initial set of driving forces to explore
  9. An initial list of possible learning journeys.
  10. An initial roadmap for the way forward.

Principles:

  1. Listen to What Life Calls you to do.
  2. Listen and Dialogue with Interesting Players on the Edges
  3. Clarify Intention and Core Quesions
  4. Convene a diverse core group around a shared intention
  5. Build the Container (holding space)

Next writeup will be on Co-Sensing.

This write up is abed on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

No. 1 Leadership Challenge in the World

Possibly the number one leadership challenge in the world of business, government and civil society is the same:

It is to enable stakeholder groups that need each other to change the system to move from ME to WE – that is, from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness.

How do you do that?

Innovating from the Future: One Process, Five Movements

Presencing is an innovatin method that enables groups and stakeholders to co-sense and co-create the future. Profound innovation requires us to suspend downloading patterns in order to activate generative social fields.

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

The 5 movements of the U Process are:

  • Co-Initiating: Uncovering shared intention – building a first container.
  • Co-Sensing: Seeing reality from the edges of the system – establishing the horizontal connection with various stakeholders.
  • Co-Presencing: Connecting to your highest future potential – establishing the vertical connection
  • Co-Creating: Prototyping to learn by doing-bringing the new into reality.
  • Co-Shaping: Embodying and institutionalizing the new – evolving the larger eco-system.

Please find separate write ups on each of these 5 movements on the same blog.

This writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

The Eye of the Needle: Transformation Threshold

In the whole change process, there comes a process that feels like a threshold. If that threshold is not crossed, all the talk about change is hollow and disconnected.

Dr. Otto Scharmer calls that threshold – the eye of the needle, referring to the gate in ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem: The Eye of the Needle Gate

When people go beyond the threshold, there is an immediate impact. People start seeing themselves from a higher vantage point, and they look at the journey as a whole instead of as a series of daily situations. They recognize their habitual problems, their deeper intentions, what matters most to them, their aspirations for themselves and for their community. In short, nothing is the same.

Crossing that threshold means to be willing to let go. To let go of old patterns, assumptions and even our old ‘ego-self’. Only then it is possible to step into our dormant potential, our emerging ‘Self’.

Many of us have had this transformative experiences that have altered the path of our lives.

Re-Integration of Matter and Mind:

When revered Master Nan, the chinese Zen Master was asked by Peter Senge: “Do you think that the industrial age will create such environmental problems that we will destroy ourselves and that we must find a way to change industrial institutions?” His response was:

“There is only one issue in the World. It’s the reintegration of matter and mind.”

Essence of Systems Thinking:

The essence of systems thinking is to help people close the feedback loop between the enactment of systems on a behavioral level and its source on the level of awareness and thought.

The shift at the bottom of the U in the U Process is not a singular event. It is an awareness and presence that is always accessible to us. The journey of the U is a journey to that deeper place and encounter.

The more we can sustain this deepend connection, the more we find that our relationship to the ‘system’ to the social field is shifting.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

21st century problems cannot be addressed with the 20th century vocabulary of problem solving

Society 1.0: Co-ordinate around Hierarchy.

The core characteristic of this stage of societal development is a strong central actor that holds the decision making power of the whole.

The positive accomplishment of a state-driven society, is its stability. The central power creates structure and order, with a calming of chaos that preceded it.

The downside is its lack of dynamism, and in most cases a lack of individual initiative and freedom.

Society 2.0: Co-ordinate around Competition:

Society 2.0 can be described as an awakening ego-system in which the self-interest of economic players acts as the animating force.

The dark side of this stage includes negative externalities such as unbounded commodification and its unintended side effects including child labour, human trafficking, environmental destruction and shocking levels of poverty and inequalities.

Society 3.0: Co-ordinate around Interest Groups:

The great accomplishment of the laissez-faire, free market economy is growth and dynamism; the downside is that is has no means of dealing with the negative externalities that it generates.

Measures to correct it include introduction of labour rights, social security, environmental protection, and federal reserve banks that protect the national currency, all of which are designed to limit the unfettered market mechanism in areas where it doesn’t work.

The limitations of 3.0 societies and their bias in favour of special interest groups, its negative approach to negative externalities and its limited capacity for intentionally creating positive externalities.

Society 4.0: Coordinate around Common Awareness of the Whole

In the emerging 4.0 stage of our economy, the natural self-interest of the players extends to a shared awareness of the whole eco-system.

Eco-system awareness requires us to open the heart and to internalize the views and concerns of other stakeholders. The results is decisions and outcomes that benefit the whole system, not just my part of it.

Field 1 to Field 4: A Journey of Inversion:

Moving down the matrix from level 1 to level 4 takes us through a process of opening and deepening.

Opening‘ means to take what is inside our microcosm and make it part of the larger macrocosm around us: As we open the mind, the heart and the will, we begin to connect with the intelligences that are surrounding us:

  • The Mind of the Collective
  • The Heart of the Collective and
  • The intention or Will of the Emerging Field.

Developing’ means to internalize what is outside, to deepen our own interiority. The combined process of turning inside-out and outside-in is what is referred here as Inversion.

To be an effective leader or change maker, we need to go through the same inversion. What does such a generative field experience look like from a first person perspective?

  • Time Slows down
  • Space widens
  • The Self-Other boundary collapses
  • The Self begins to ‘de-center’
  • Materiality Changes: The quality of matter and sensual perception also shifts.
  • Agency Changes: From rule repeating to rule-generating( operating from the source)
  • Thinking Changes: From habitual thinking to thinking from source: Presenencing.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Organizational Evolution: Org 1.0 to Org 4.0

Global organizations are a new species on the face of our planet – a species that in less than 2 centuries has progressed to rule the world.

Organizations are essentially geometries of power.

They structure our collective decision making.

When we look at the evolution of organizations, we see 4 different stages which reflect different stages or qualities of how organizations operate.

  • Centralized
  • Decentralized
  • Networked
  • Eco-System

The leadership challenge is to develop tools that allow the organization to change and evolve into these different stages, depending on what is needed.

Organization 1.0: Centralized:

In 1.0 Organizations, decision making power is located at the top of the pyramid. It is centralized, top-down, often with formalized roles.

These 1.0 structures work well as long as the guy (or core group) at the top is really good and the organization is relatively small and agile.

However once organizations or companies begin to grow, they need to decentralize in order to move decision making closer to the markets, customers or citizens. The resulting 2.0 structures are defined by both hierarchy and competition.

Organization 2.0: Decentralized:

In a 2.0 organization structure, decentralization enables the source of power to move closer to the periphery. The result is a functionally, divisionally or geographically differentiated structure in which decisions are made closer to the markets, consumers, communities or citizens.

The good thing about 2.0 structures is the entrepreneurial independence of all of its divisions or units, its accountability and its focus on meritocracy.

The bad things is that no one is managing the interdependence, the white space between the units. Which brings us to Org 3.0

Organization 3.0: Networked:

In 3.0 organizational structures the source of power moves even farther from the center. It originates from beyond the boundaries of the organization. The result is a flattening of structures and the rise of networked relationships. Power emerges from the relationships to multiple stakeholders across boundaries.

How many people report to me matters less than the quality of my stakeholder relationships inside and outside the organizations including relationships through social media.

A good thing about 3.0 structures is empowerment and net-worked stakeholder connections.

A bad thing is the increased vulnerability in the face of disruption or being sidetracked by vested interests, because small groups can organize their lobbying activities much more easily than large groups.

Organization 4.0: ECOSYSTEM:

4.0 structures operate by connecting and cultivating the entire living eco-system that is organized around a shared purpose. “Swarm” organizations and Agile or Teal based organizations are all based on self-organizing circle structures in the context of shared purpose and institutional interdependency.

As the decision making is being pushed even further to the frontline of organizations (empowering), these flattened and fluid structures of decision making only work well to the degree that the mindset of the participants has shifted from ego-system to eco-system awareness.

This means that the decision making circles develop the capacity to act from local knowledge while being aware of the cross-organizational inter-dependency and aligned by a shared purpose.

Institutional Inversion:

The evolution of today’s organization structures show a clear pattern: institutional inversion, that is turning inside out and outside in.

In the organizational context, institutional inversion applies to many of the core functions of management, as evidenced in the rise of crowd-sourcing(inverted R & D), crowdfunding (inverted finance), swarm intelligence and other ways of harnessing collective intelligence by inverting top-down, silo structures to distributed organizing.

What is in it for your organization? Where are you and where do you need to move?

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

What is your team and organization Culture? How do you alter the Culture?

Conversation creates the world we deal with in groups, organizations and society.

  1. Conversations happen in fields – i.e. conversations in groups tend to follow certain patterns, and those patterns rarely change.
  2. There is a limited set of conversational field patterns, meaning there is a limited set of qualities that a conversation can create in a social setting.
  3. The 4 different qualities of conversation are:
  • Field 1: Downloading
  • Field 2: Debate
  • Field 3: Dialogue
  • Field 4: Collective Creativity

The art of leadership is to facilitate shifts from one state of conversation to another, depending on what is needed in a specific context.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 1: DOWNLOADING:

“How are you?” “I am fine”.

Many formal meetings in organizations are conducted using this kind of ritualistic language.

Operating effectively in such conversations requires that participants confirm to the dominant pattern of exchanging polite phrases rather than saying what is really on their minds.

In school, we learn to say what the teacher wants to hear. Later, we use the same skill to deal with bosses and get ahead in organizations.

What’s wrong with it?

From the organizational perspective, this is completely dysfunctional behaviour. It prevents teams from talking about what is really going on.

They talk about the real stuff somewhere else, like the parking lot or on their way home.

But in the workplace and in meetings, everyone’s times is wasted and they do nothing more than exchange polite comments.

This is the recipe of breakdowns and disasters waiting to happen and the organization tends to get caught in a disruption quite unaware.

***Enacting Conversations from Field 2: DEBATE:

The defining feature of a field 2 conversation is that participants speak their minds without being responsible for their communication and its impact on others. This kind of comments raise tensions. Everyone feels uncomfortable . This kind of conversation abandons YES Sir, language for a tougher type of conversation in which individuals dare to differ.

Field 1 is all about Confirming. You must confirm to other’s views (usually the boss’s views).

Field 2 is all about taking a different stance. You suggest a different point of view.

Field 2 conversations imply opening up to viewpoints that challenge the dominant views.

The structure that results from this kind of interactions is often a debate. The word ‘debate’ literally means ‘to fight or beat down’. People use their arguments to beat their opponents i.e. anyone with a different opinion.

Debate and the expression of differing views can be useful in organizations because they put all the opinions on the table.

But if an issue requires team members to reflect on and change their habits of thought and guiding assumptions, a different type of conversation than ‘debate’ is needed. One that allows participants to realize that “I am not my point of view.”

“I can suspend my own point of view and look at somebody else’s assumptions.” – Bill Isaacs – author of Dialogue: The art of Thinking Together. This requires one to move to the 3rd field of conversation.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 3: DIALOGUE:

Dialogue comes from the Greek logos, ‘word’ or ‘meaning’ and dia, ‘through’ and can be literally translated as ‘meaning through’.

Moving from debate (field 2) to dailogue (field 3) involves a prfound shift in the collective field structure of attention through which a conversation operates.

Just as the move from seeing to sensing on the individual level involves a shift form facing the world as an exterior set of objects to experiencing the world from the field, the shift from debate to dialogue also involves a shift from trying to beat down the contrary view to inquiring into each other’s views, empathically listening from the other.

When this shift towards a dialogic field of conversation happens, your perspective widens to seeing the world and yourself from the whole.

*** Enacting Conversations from Field 4: Collective Presence and Creativity:

Level 4 conversations give birth to new ideas, imaginings, identities and inspired energy.

When the quality of the listening and conversation moves into a generative stage, there are distinct changes in people’s experience. The shift into this deeper field of collective presence often happens in a transitional moment of stillness. That is why groups that want to access this deepest level often use intentional stillness as a gateway.It is a space of “doing nothing” – of neither over-intervening nor disengaging.

When that deeper generative field is activated, we usually experience it as time slowing down, space opening, widening, the sense of self decentering, while the self-other boundary opens up to a collective presence form which the conversation seems to flow.

People no longer say,” This is my idea.” Instead the group engages in the art of thinking together where one idea builds on the other. The impact of this type of conversation can be profound, shaping or reshaping the course of one’s life.

How would it be if your team master operating at level 4 field of conversation?

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.