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“Myth 2: Leadership is about individuals. In fact, leadership is a distributed or collective capacity in a system, not just something that individuals do. Leadership is about the capacity of the whole system to sense and actualize the future that wants to emerge.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“Leadership in its essence is the capacity to shift the inner place from which we operate. Once they understand how, leaders can build the capacity of their systems to operate differently and to release themselves from the exterior determination of the outer circle. As long as we are mired in the viewpoint of the outer two circles, we are trapped in a victim mind-set (“the system is doing something to me”). As soon as we shift to the viewpoint of the inner two circles, we see how we can make a difference and how we can shape the future differently. Facilitating the movement from one (victim) mind-set to another (we can shape our future) is what leaders get paid for.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“The gap between financial capital of US$190 trillion looking for highly profitable investment opportunities and a real economy and social sector without access to the financial capital needed to operate and grow is at the heart of the worldwide economic crisis.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“Isn’t there a way to break the patterns of the past and tune into our highest future possibility—and to begin to operate from that place?”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“Energy follows attention. Wherever you place your attention, that is where the energy of the system will go. “Energy follows attention” means that we need to shift our attention from what we are trying to avoid to what we want to bring into reality.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“The crisis of our time isn’t just a crisis of a single leader, organization, country, or conflict. The crisis of our time reveals the dying of an old social structure and way of thinking, an old way of institutionalizing and enacting collective social forms.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“This is the moment when what we need most is enough people with the skill, heart, and wisdom to help us pull ourselves back from the edge of breakdown and onto a different path.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“It is this shared awareness that allows for fast, flexible, and fluid coordination and decision-making that are far more adaptive and co-creative than any other organizational model currently being used in major societal institutions.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“You cannot understand a system unless you change it.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“Leadership is about being better able to listen to the whole than anyone else can.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“Time and again we try to cope with situations using collective instruments that are out of tune. Rather than stopping to tune them, we increase the pace, hire consultants who want to increase productivity by further reducing the time devoted to tuning and practicing, hire new conductors who promise to conduct even faster, and so forth. But the obvious thing to do—to stop and tune the instruments collectively—doesn’t come easily because it requires a shift of the mind to a deeper level of operating.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“There’s only one issue in the world. It’s the reintegration of mind and matter.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“Most cross-institutional change processes fail because they miss the starting point: co-sensing across boundaries. We need infrastructures to facilitate this process on a sustained level across systems. And because they don’t yet exist, organized interest groups go out and maximize their special interests against the whole, instead of engaging practitioners in the larger system in a process of sensing and innovating together. As”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“We collectively create results that nobody wants because decision-makers are increasingly disconnected from the people affected by their decisions. As a consequence, we are hitting the limits to leadership—that is, the limits to traditional top-down leadership that works through the mechanisms of institutional silos.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“As individuals, we must begin to pay attention to our attention (self-awareness); as teams, we must begin to converse about our conversations (dialogue); as enterprises, we must begin to organize our organizing (networks of networks: eco-systems); and as eco-systems, we must begin to coordinate our coordinating (systems of awareness-based collective action, or ABC).”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“At the beginning of the twenty-first century, probably for the first time in human history, the living presence of the abyss—that is, the simultaneous existence of one world that is dying and another one that is being born—is a widely shared experience for millions of people across cultures, sectors, and generations. It is experienced in communities as well as in ministries, global companies, NGOs, and UN organizations—wherever people are looking at the real picture. It’s a felt sense that applies to relationships, institutions, and systems, but even more to the personal level of our journey from self to Self.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“We need to articulate a different view of economic, political, and spiritual affairs—a view that is not primarily Left or Right, that is not wrapped around the primacy of this mechanism or that one, that doesn’t believe that the solution to our problems lies with Big Government, Big Corporations, Big Money, or Big Ideology.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“shift the global field of entrepreneurship”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“We respond to societal issues with quick technical fixes that address symptoms rather than with systemic solutions. As a consequence, we are hitting the limits to symptom-focused fixes—that is, limits to solutions that respond to problems with more technological gadgets rather than by addressing the problems’ root causes.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“The problem with our current societal eco-systems is the broken feedback loop between the parts and the whole. Theory U offers a method for relinking the parts and the whole by making it possible for the system to sense and see itself. When that happens, the collective consciousness begins to shift from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness—from a silo view to a systems view.”
C. Otto Scharmer, The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications
“Our blind spot, from a person or people point of view, keeps us from seeing that we do indeed have greatly enhanced direct access to the deeper sources of creativity and commitment, both as individuals and as communities. It is one of our most hopeful sources of confidence because we can access a deeper presence, power, and purpose from within. From a structural point of view, the societal blind spot deals with the lack of these cross-sector action groups that intentionally operate from a future that wants to emerge. Instead, we see only special interest groups and three types of fundamentalism, each trying to solve our current mess in a single-minded way.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“The crisis of our time isn’t just a crisis of a single leader, organization, country, or conflict. The crisis of our time reveals the dying of an old social structure and way of thinking, an old way of institutionalizing and enacting collective social forms. Frontline”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“We saw that four different voices respond to this crisis by suggesting differing pathways forward: the first three are the retro-voices, which suggest returning to the global field structure of Field 1 (autocratic and state-driven: regulation, law and order), Field 2 (market-driven: deregulation), or Field 3 (stakeholder negotiation-driven: dialogue), respectively. The fourth voice, however, suggests that there is no way back. Retreat is impossible because circumstances have changed. This is why we need to go forward to the next evolutionary stage of the global economy (ecosystem-driven: seeing and acting from the emerging whole).”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“But you can create conditions that allow a deeper alchemy to work—that is, conditions that help leaders in a system to broaden and deepen their view of the system from ego to eco, from “me” to”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies
“Rudolf Steiner, whose synthesis of science, consciousness, and social innovation continues to inspire my work and whose methodological grounding in”
C Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges
“Particularly in situations of massive direct, structural, and cultural violence that has been inflicted on certain communities over several centuries (and there are plenty of these places across the continents), going down the U involves a kind of healing of massive wounds that have been inflicted on the collective body. (A good example is the work of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.) That healing of the collective social body will be one of the central activities of such a process. It’s not just a sidelight of project work. It’s the real thing. And everything else is the context for the healing to take place.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“I once asked one of the most successful leaders of the telecom industry what she considered to be the essence of her leadership work. She responded, “I am facilitating the opening process so my team can sense and seize emerging opportunities as they arise from the fast paced business environment we are operating in.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Learning from the Future as It Emerges
“The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presencing an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today. It is a capacity that is critical in situations of disruptive change, not only for institutions and systems, but also for teams and individuals.”
C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies

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C. Otto Scharmer
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Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges Theory U
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Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies Leading from the Emerging Future
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The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications The Essentials of Theory U
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Teoría U Teoría U
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