Leadership from Within

I’ve recently re-read C. Otto Scharmer’s thought-provoking article "Uncovering the Blind Spot of Leadership” – thanks to Sharon Quarrington of Horse Sense.

I am struck once again by the clarity of his thought and the compelling argument he presents which most of us in leadership development persistently ignore. He begins with a simple but irrefutable suggestion that we all need to listen more deeply than we do, especially if we seek to lead others. He then proceeds to describe a journey that we must take, as individuals and collectively if we are to create real and sustainable change.

There’s no magic here, it’s not too difficult to comprehend and it’s unambiguous. So why doesn’t it happen?

Simple – it requires more time and effort than most of us are prepared to invest. But let’s take a closer look at that; if the return on the investment is enough, why would we not make the investment? If I were to give you a gilt-edged guarantee that a $10.000.00 investment would earn you a five-fold return - $50,000.00 – within thirty days, wouldn’t you find a way to scrape together the $10,000.00 and in a hurry?

Now, what if I told you that if you were to make the initial investment, gain and retain the return, you would then be eligible to repeat the process whenever you wanted with absolutely no limits and no risk of loss? Would you not be interested?

This is exactly what C. Otto Scharmer is offering us. Instead of dollars, it’s leadership effectiveness. Once you’ve mastered the process for yourself you are free to extend it to anyone else and derive secondary profits. What would that do to your prestige? What difference might that make in the foundational quality of your life?

Try it! Risk nothing as you test the merit of the system. If you’re not totally blown-away by its potential then walk away and leave it; but if you suspect that it has incredible merit and potential then invest whatever time and effort that’ might be required to master the process. I shall be doing that, precisely.

At this point there are two actions you can take to explore this further. The first of these is to read his original article in Leader to Leader magazine (Winter 2008 edition) attached. Second, download the executive summary (overview or full version) from his website.

So will you make the effort to investigate this opportunity?

Let me help you with a few reasons why you won’t:

  • You already know everything you need to know about leadership.
  • You’re already so far down the path to success you don’t have need for another approach.
  • If the idea / approach was that good you’d already have thought about it yourself.
  • You’re really busy right now so you’ll get to it later – much later, as I did when I first heard about it.
  • You know there are no ‘silver bullets’ in leadership so this one can’t have real merit.
  • If the approach takes that much effort, no one else will have tried it so it is unlikely to work.
  • It will work but only for those who are more senior / junior / specialized / generalized / etc. than you.
  • You likely won’t have enough opportunities to use it in practice so it’s not worth the effort.
  • It’s really designed for management consultants, teachers, coaches, etc - not for real leaders.
  • Shall I go on?

Or will you invest ten minutes and check it out for yourself?