Theory U. Leadership from the Future
Otto Scharmer, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) and one of the founders of The Presencing Institute, developed one of the most interesting management conceptions. In the booksTheory U. Leading from the Future as it Emerges and Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, (the second was co-written with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Flowers), Scharmer introduces the concept of Presencing – learning from the future as it emerges.

After researching more than 150 companies located in Silicon Valley, Otto Scharmer implanted a methodology in Theory U for how to set up the processes of change and transformation in any system, such as organizations, institutions, communities, and families. The goal of the practice is to solve social, political, and environmental problems of society, which is possible through the transition from ego to ecothinking.

This transition is possible if one starts to take into account not only their past experience, but also knowledge from the impending future, and to use it in accordance with the values of an open heart (empathy), an open mind (curiosity), and an open will (courage).

Theory U's core theory is to help teams develop a position of Presencing – a level of communication that creates a flow of co-creation. Presencing the emerging future allows one to highlight the best prospects for the future, to build proactive relationships among participants, and to get away from the patterns of the past.
Universal Problem
Contemporary management systems provoke a structure of the world in which many conflicts – spiritual, social, and environmental – occur. Institutional failures in systems occur due to the fact that society is not able to come to an arrangement, with the use of violence being an acceptable form of power. Interpersonal communication is also based either on defending one's point of view, or on social politeness, which leads to misunderstanding, distancing from each other, and making wrong decisions.
Theory U is a management concept according to which a leader acts based on the future as it emerges. A future-based leadership contains a structure of changes and a set of methodologies, which are used to address global challenges: climate change, food systems, inequality, finance, healthcare, and education.

Theory U presupposes the creation of a new type of a leader, such that a space of "Presencing" develops around the leader, thereby helping them to make conscious decisions, to take into account the connection of objects with their future, and to understand that they are a single whole.
Target Image
A new collective leadership capacity will be created in the future to solve problems in a more conscious, deliberate, and strategic way. The development of such potential will create a future with greater opportunities.

A leader of the future develops the following abilities:
  1. Be able to listen to oneself and others;
  2. Be able to observe;
  3. Have an open perception, be able to sympathize;
  4. Be able to connect to the deep levels of the self where knowledge comes to the surface;
  5. Be able to crystallize a goal and guide a team to it;
  6. Be able to integrate thinking, feelings, and will for practical application;
  7. Create a collaborative development space for the engaged team.
Experiment Framework
There are several developments inside The Presencing Institute that allow to build management based on Theory U:

Support of initiatives to change the world, which enable stakeholders from business, government, and civil society to respond to the disruptive challenges of our time collectively.

Creation of collective potential for deep innovation and change: free courses and initiatives, programs for professionals.

Research which collects and distributes knowledge about the changes in systems based on awareness to improve various social technologies.

Support of organizations, companies, and government agencies to develop leadership capabilities from the future; strategy and innovation development become ecosystem leaders and innovators.

Tools and Technologies
The Presentencing Institute has developed a practice of accessing various mental states to enhance trainees creative and leadership abilities, well-being, and integrity of perception.

There are several techniques:
  • An empathetic walk, during which an acute issue is discussed, but the conversation partners cannot criticize each other or to object to their opponents;
  • A generative dialogue, when one of the participants suggests a task to the team and the team develops solutions;
  • Observation logs, in which the team members give a sensuous response to a situation one after another;
  • Canvas for the "grounding the intention of the future", in which an emotionally lived situation is decomposed into concrete steps for implementation.
Scaling Plans
The community aims to create a global institute for research on action for societal transformation, which brings together science, consciousness, and social changes.
Norms and Values
Future-based leadership is built on an open mind, an open heart, and an open will.
Communities and Leaders
The Presencing Institute is the main platform of the community run by its ideological leader Otto Scharmer. He developed a special course for getting acquainted with Theory U at the MITx u.lab and created a GAIA community of like-minded people.
Theory U has received recognition from the MIT School of Management and Professor Peter Senge.

Such organizations as The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and United Nations Development Program, Sistema B use the achievements of the theory for management.

Educational competencies are supported by The World Café – the developers of the popular method of peaceful collective decision-making.
What you can do to join the practice of leadership from the future now:
Read Otto Scharmer's book, Theory U. Leading from the Future as it Emerges;
Study methodological materials on Theory U;
Try to build a decision-making process based on Theory U;
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