Theory U

By Nitzan on February 4, 2019 — 1 min read

“While participating in numerous profound innovation and change projects and initiatives, I realized that while most experienced leaders actually do know these deeper levels of the U from their own experience, most organizations, institutions, and larger systems are firmly stuck on levels 1 or 2. Why? I believe it is because we lack a new social leadership technology. Without a new leadership technology, change-makers and leaders don’t really shift fields but end up with more of the same. We call these attempts “restructuring,” “redesigning,” or “re-engineering,” and more often than not they serve only to deepen our frustration and cynicism.

What I am suggesting as an alternative is to develop a new type of social technology that is based on three instruments that each of us already has—an open mind, an open heart, and an open will—and to cultivate these capacities not only individually but also collectively.

The first instrument, or capacity, the open mind, is based on our ability to access our intellectual, or IQ, type of intelligence. This allows us to see with fresh eyes, to deal with the objective figures and facts around us. As the saying goes, the mind works like a parachute: it only functions when it is open. The second capacity, the open heart, relates to our ability to access our emotional intelligence, or EQ; that is, our capacity to empathize with others, to tune in to different contexts, and to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes. The third capacity, the open will, relates to our ability to access our authentic purpose and self. This type of intelligence is also sometimes referred to as intention or SQ (spiritual intelligence or self-knowledge). It deals with the fundamental actions of letting go and letting come.”

Otto Scharmer. “Theory U.”

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