Theory U: Leading From the Future as It Emerges

theory u textToday’s book is “Theory U: Leading From the Future as It Emerges” by C. Otto Scharmer.  It’s not a small book, weighing just over 2 pounds by my estimation.  I’ve been carrying it all over town and getting a good workout along the way.

I did not buy this book just to increase the muscle strength in my arms, however.  I was introduced to Theory U over a year ago, through a workshop created to support the re-design of a leadership course being offered by the host organization.

During that workshop I was delighted to experience course re-design in an entirely different way than I had before.  Through facilitator-led group sharing and creative art exploration, we learned about letting go of things that needed to be let go, unknowing where we might end up, and then sensing our readiness to start experimenting with new possible futures for the leadership course by trying things out and sounding new ideas.

The workshop process was natural and organic, characterizations that have become so important to me in the past few years. It resonates more strongly than traditional modes of planning that can often include weakly-supported brainstorming, ignoring existing problems and premature attaching to limiting solutions.

Hooked on Theory U, I experimented with what I had learned in the months following, allowing this natural approach to influence both my personal and professional life.  I nurtured change rather than forcing it.

Wanting to go even deeper with the Theory and stretch my learning and application farther, I purchased the aforementioned book. It took me two attempts to get started. Scharmer writes in an unfamiliar way, and I’ve had to get used to his language so that I can appreciate his greater intentions.

Halfway through the book now, I’m seeing the parallels between what I am reading and what I am experiencing in my life at this moment.  I’m in the U for sure, and just starting to experiment with my future as it is emerging.  How fun does that sound?!


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