Otto Scharmer at the beginning of his new book Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges reflects on two key questions: 1. Why do our attempts to deal with challenges of our time so often fail? 2. Why are we stuck in so many quagmires today?
He proposes that the cause of our collective failure is that we are blind to the deeper dimension of leadership and transformation. He goes further to suggest that we are blind to the source dimension from which effective leadership and social action come into being.
Over the years much has been written about what leaders do and how they do things. However, there has been little attention given to better knowing and understanding the inner place, the source from which leaders operate.
Core to successful leadership is the quality of attention and intention given by the leader to any situation. We know that two leaders in the same circumstances doing apparently the same thing can bring about completely different outcomes, depending on the inner place from which each operates. In other words, our leadership can be referred to as something that operates from the inside out.
When we connect to our deepest source of our self and will, we are in the state of operating from the inside out. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the whole, the open will enables us to act from the emerging whole.
What or who then is our deepest source of self and will?
St Paul certainly knew and understood what it was like to connect to ‘the deepest’ source of self and will. In writing to the Galatians (Chapter 5: 22-23) he expressed what happens when we live God’s way. He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
If we draw on God’s wisdom, love and strength and not rely solely on our own understanding and efforts, we can face the future with the confidence knowing that whilst there will be times of challenge, with the collective will of others together we can co-create the future.