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Access the deepest source of inspiration and vision We live in a time of massive institutional failure that manifests in the form of three major divides: the ecological, the social, and the spiritual. Addressing these challenges requires a new consciousness and collective leadership capacity. In this groundbreaking book, Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways and in so doing discover a revolutionary approach to learning and leadership. In most large systems today, we collectively create results that no one wants. What keeps us stuck in such patterns of the past? It's our blind spot, that is, our lack of awareness of the inner place from which our attention and intention originate. By moving through Scharmer's U process, we consciously access the blind spot and learn to connect to our authentic Self—the deepest source of knowledge and inspiration. Theory U offers a rich diversity of compelling stories, examples, exercises, and practices that allow leaders, organizations, and larger systems to cosense and coshape the future that is wanting to emerge. This second edition features a new preface in which Scharmer identifies five transformational trends and describes U process case stories around the world. There are also eight color drawings by Kelvy Bird that capture U journey applications and illustrate the concepts in the book, as well as new resources for applying the principles and practices.
Our Time Is Now We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system from an obsolete “ego-system” focused entirely on the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. Filled with real-world examples, this thought-provoking guide presents proven practices for building a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware. “A watershed! An inspiring, practical weaving of the inner and outer dimensions of the systemic changes so many around the world are now working toward.” —Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management; Founding Chair, Society for Organizational Learning; and author of The Fifth Discipline “Scharmer and Kaufer have succeeded in writing the book that has the potential to transform civilization from one based on a rapacious, ego-driven economics to a viable, ecological, awareness-based model. This is a must-read for anyone who cares. It may well be the single most important book you ever read.” —Arthur Zajonc, President, Mind and Life Institute, and author of Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry “Scharmer and Kaufer provide a creative and practical approach to shifting our economies. I see business as a movement, and this book shares that movement with the world, offering us inspiration to tap into the deeper levels of our humanity and urging us to transform the crises of our times.” —Eileen Fisher, founder, Eileen Fisher, Inc. “The shift to an eco-system economy is emerging everywhere around us. Otto’s and Katrin’s clarity in identifying that this shift requires change-makers to expand our thinking from the head to the heart has helped me to be more intentional in designing processes to awaken the hearts of entrepreneurs everywhere. This is a necessary condition for the emergence of the new economy.” —Michelle Long, Executive Director, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies “The purpose of business is to enhance the well-being of society. The 4.0 framework for transforming capitalism matters because it addresses a blind spot in our current discourse: how to create institutional innovations that could shift our economy from ego- to eco-system awareness at the scale of the whole.” —Guilherme Peirão Leal, founder and Cochairman, Natura Cosméticos
Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organisations and Society gives the reader an intimate look at the development of a new theory about change and learning. In wide-ranging conversations held over a year and a half, Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski and Flowers explore their own experiences and those of one hundred and fifty scientists and social and business entrepreneurs in an effort to explain how profound collective change occurs. Their journey of discovery articulates a new way of seeing the world, and of understanding our part in creating it - as it is and as it might be. Radical and hopeful - Presence synthesises leading-edge thinking, first-hand knowledge and ancient wisdom to explore the living fields that connect us to one another, to life more broadly, and, potentially, to what is 'seeking to emerge'. Seven capacities underlie out ability to see, sense, and realise new possibilities. Developing these capacities accesses a deeper level of learning that is the key to creating change that serves the whole - ourselves, our organisations, and the communities of which we are a part.
In this ground-breaking book, C. Otto Scharmer invites us to see the world in new ways.
"When most people think of corporate responsibility, they are focusing on a business's effect on and relationship to stakeholders. A Responsible Business sees stakeholders as full partners and meaningful instruments for the evolution of healthier communities and more successful businesses." —from the Introduction The Responsible Business offers a new and strategic approach to doing business that holistically integrates responsibility into all aspects of an organization, allowing for returns at every level, business and social. This book goes beyond the often well intentioned but limited attempts at sustainability to present a framework that allows organizations to bring responsibility into everything they do and re-imagine success. From innovation, product development, and production processes to business management, strategic planning, and shareholder development, the author shows how being a Responsible Business is a practical skill that can be applied day-to-day at every level of the business. No longer just the role of a department or the job of CSR professionals, successful responsibility and business efforts start at the business level, are then taken to the corporate level, and are finally applied throughout the organization. The Responsible Business outlines a framework for building a responsibility and consciousness infrastructure that applies a living systems view to the business and inspires all of its stakeholders, including shareholders. Throughout the book, illustrated by examples from technology to manufacturing, large and small, public and private, Sanford demonstrates how to make responsibility integral to all aspects of a business as an engine for innovation, profitability, and purpose. Praise for The Responsible Business "This is a very significant book. It makes it clear that businesses have a single boss with five interrelated aspects. The stories are among the crispest, most evocative case histories I have seen. The book is for any corporate leader trying to do the impossible: create a business that recreates the world." —Art Kleiner, editor-in-chief, strategy + business, and author, The Age of Heretics "Carol Sanford offers us a proven, practical, and systems-based approach that integrates five stakeholder groups into a business system working as an integral whole. Essential reading for leaders wanting a system framework for sustainability and business success!" —Otto Scharmer, MIT Sloan senior lecturer; author, Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges; and coauthor, Presence "The Responsible Business challenges many assumptions corporate leaders, investment advisors, and sustainability experts have long taken for granted. It provides a road map that can help innovative businesses think about how to be truly transformational." —Sam Ford, Fast Company expert blogger and director, Peppercom "The powerful concepts in The Responsible Business have changed the process of sustainable development and how communities truly thrive. Indeed, these proven approaches will be the roadmap to truly achieve the deepest level of living communities." —Bill Reed, founding member of LEED System and coauthor, The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building "Critical for re-imagining the future of business. Rarely a day goes by that I do not call on this way of thinking and looking at the world. It is useful for taking on the big business decisions that so many of us face every day." —Chad Holliday, chairman, Bank of America
Getting Unstuck People who are trying to solve tough economic, social, and environmental problems often find themselves frustratingly stuck. They can’t solve their problems in their current context, which is too unstable or unfair or unsustainable. They can’t transform this context on their own—it’s too complex to be grasped or shifted by any one person or organization or sector. And the people whose cooperation they need don’t understand or agree with or trust them or each other. Transformative scenario planning is a powerful new methodology for dealing with these challenges. It enables us to transform ourselves and our relationships and thereby the systems of which we are a part. At a time when divisions within and among societies are producing so many people to get stuck and to suffer, it offers hope—and a proven approach—for moving forward together.
Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation. How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results. Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert. Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people improve their efforts to end homelessness, improve public health, strengthen education, design a system for early childhood development, protect child welfare, develop rural economies, facilitate the reentry of formerly incarcerated people into society, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more. The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

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