I was reviewing Otto Scharmer’s “Leading from the Emerging Future” this weekend, prepping for Alternative Perspectives class in the fall, and it struck me how the “U” and the “iceberg” of CLA seemed to be quite similar. I did a quick-and-dirty search to see if anyone had noted this, but did not find anything. I have been intrigued by Scharmer’s ideas on Presencing and Theory U, and have shared them in class, but I really haven’t figured out the application. The theory makes conceptual sense, but I haven’t used it in practice. With our program’s emphasis on application, this has left me a bit uncomfortable. Which is long way of saying, I’m searching for a way to integrate the ideas into my tool kit (and thus my teaching kit).
The first fo
ur chapters invite you to travel down the left side of the U:
- symptoms: disruption, death, and rebirth
- structure: systemic disconnects
- thinking: the Matrix of Economic Evolution
- source: traveling through the eye of the needle
The next four chapters take you up the right side of the U:
- leading individual transformation
- leadingrelational transformation
- leading institutional transformation
- leading from the emerging future
Scharmer even uses iceberg metaphor that is commonly used to explain CLA. I’m also familiar with using CLA in a down-and-up or up-and-down brainstorming exercise. The combination hear suggests beginning with the surface level manifestations of what we’re exploring and progressively going deeper. I like Scharmer’s “system disconnects” as I often explain the second level of CLA as “trends and systems.” I think the third level is a bit different and I think worldview is more helpful. As the bottom, we get to the deepest level of analysis on the left, and then begin the journey back up. It’ interesting that Scharmer starts with the individual. It’s a notion that we’ve heard from Richard Slaughter in his recent “Biggest Wake Up Call,” that is, starting with individual mindsets, and working from there. When we get to the top, we have “presenced” the emerging future, if you will.
It also strikes my that Sohail’s original article called CLA deconstructing (left-side of U) and reconstructing (right side of U). Some weekend speculations to share. I’d love to hear some reactions, as I’m just floating some ideas out there at this point. Andy Hines