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Breakthroughs are a product of seeing something in a new way, which enables you to see new opportunities and new openings for action that you couldn’t see before. Breakthroughs come as a result of shifting your commitment from the predictable future to a possible future.”

  • Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard in discussion with Professor Jonathan D. Moreno, April 2016 at the University of Pennsylvania.

“One can inquire into being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership from a number of perspectives, with each perspective providing insights not contributed by the others. …leader and leadership can also be examined from the science of ontology. Ontology examines leader and leadership from the perspective of the nature and function of being as it relates to being a leader and the impact of being on one’s effectiveness in the exercise of leadership. While providing its own insights and testable propositions, the ontological perspective is complementary to the findings and insights we are aware of provided by the other perspectives. While the ontological perspective is less familiar for most of us than these other perspectives and therefore perhaps at first uncomfortable, the ontological perspective is uniquely powerful in providing access to the being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership as one’s natural self-expression.”

 

Erhard, W., Jensen, M., and Zaffron, S. (2015). Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model. Harvard Business School Negotiation, Organizations, and Market Research Papers

“Harvard economist Michael Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, “I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,” he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard “one of the great intellectuals of the century.”
Peter Haldeman – New York Times, November 29, 2015

Werner Erhard paced the aisle between rows of desks in a Toronto conference room. “If you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to have to have a very loose relationship with this thing you call ‘I’ or ‘me,’” he shouted. “Maybe that whole thing in me around which the universe revolves isn’t so central! Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence! You got a problem with that?”
No one in the room had a problem with that. The desks were occupied by 27 name-tagged academics from around the world. And in the course of the day, a number of them would take the mike to pose what their instructor referred to as “yeah buts, how ‘bouts or what ifs” in response to his pronouncements – but no one had a problem with them.
Peter Haldeman – New York Times, November 29, 2015

“If you’re going to be a leader, you’re going to have to have a very loose relationship with this thing you call ‘I’ or ‘me’. Maybe that whole thing in me around which the universe revolves isn’t so central! Maybe life is not about the self but about self-transcendence.”

-Werner Erhard, The New York Times, November 28, 2015

New York Times 11-28-2015

action

Integrity (in our model) is not about good or bad, or right or wrong, or what should or should not be.

We distinguish integrity as a phenomenon of the objective state or condition of an object, system, person, group, or organizational entity, and define integrity as: a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.

We assert that integrity (the condition of being whole and complete) is a necessary condition for workability, and that the resultant level of workability determines the available opportunity for performance. Hence, the way we treat integrity in our model provides an unambiguous and actionable access to superior performance (however one wishes to define performance).

For an individual we distinguish integrity as a matter of that person’s word being whole and complete, and for a group or organizational entity as what is said by or on behalf of the group or organization being whole and complete. In that context, we define integrity for an individual, group, or organization as: Honoring one’s word.

Oversimplifying somewhat, honoring your word as we define it means you either keep your word (do what you said you would do and by the time you said you would do it), or as soon as you know that you will not, you say that you will not to those who were counting on your word and clean up any mess caused by not keeping your word.

Honoring your word is also the route to creating whole and complete social and working relationships. In addition, it provides an actionable pathway to earning the trust of others.”

Integrity: Where Leadership Begins – A New Model of Integrity

werner erhard

Sands Leadership Lecture Series

“Professor Michael Jensen and Werner Erhard, two extraordinary thinkers, engage in a conversation that explores groundbreaking access to being a leader and to the effective exercise of leadership as one’s natural self-expression.” -Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Leaders do not act from a plan, but plan from their action.  The planning is really a conversation which gives other people access to the possibility to which you are committed.

-Werner Erhard

“We argue here that the four factors we identify as constituting the foundation for being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership can also be seen as the foundations not only for great leadership, but also for a high quality personal life and an extraordinary organization. One can see this as a “value free” approach to values because, 1) integrity as we define it (being whole and complete) is a purely positive proposition, 2) authenticity is also a purely positive proposition (being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others and who you hold yourself to be for yourself), 3) being committed to something bigger than oneself is also a purely positive proposition (that says nothing about what that commitment should be other than it be bigger than oneself), and 4) being cause in the matter as a declaration of the stand you take for yourself regarding everything in your life is also a purely positive proposition”

Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen

 

“If you are empowered, you suddenly have a lot of work to do because you have the power to do it. If you are unempowered, you are less dominated by the opportunities in front of you. In other words, you have an excuse to not do the work. You have a way out. You have the security of being able to do what you have always done and get away.  If you are empowered, suddenly you must step out, innovate and create.  The cost, however, of being unempowered is people’s self-expression.  They always have the feeling that they have something in them that they never really gave, never really expressed.  By simply revealing the payoffs and costs of being unempowered, people have a choice.  They can begin to see that it is possible to make the choice to be empowered rather than to function without awareness.  Empowerment requires a breakthrough and in part that breakthrough is a kind of shift from looking for a leader to a sense of personal responsibility.  The problems we now have in communities and societies are going to be resolved only when we are brought together by a common sense that each of us is visionary.  Each of us must come to the realization that we can function and live at the level of vision rather than following some great leader’s vision.  Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader in ourselves.”

Werner Erhard Scene Magazine/September-October 1982

In this discussion we are not concerned with values or virtues. While Authenticity, Being Cause in the Matter, Being Committed to something Bigger Than Oneself, and Integrity can be approached as normative values we are not concerned with them as being right or good in some absolute sense, or with their absence as being wrong or bad. This is not a discussion of ethics, morality or virtues.

We advocate these principles not because they are “right”, but simply because they are in each individual’s personal self-interest and in each organization’s corporate self-interest.

These principles create workability, trust, peace, joy and private and social value.

They provide a path for individuals, organizations & societies to realize much of what people generally think ethics and morality produce.

These Four Ways of Being that Create the Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and A Great Organization are:

1) Authenticity: Being and acting consistent with who you hold yurself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself.  When leading, being authentic leaves you grounded, and able to be straight without using force.

2) Being Cause in the Matter of Everything in Your Life:  Being cause in the Matter is a stand you take for yourself and life – and acting from that stand.  It leaves you with power.  You are never a victim.

3) Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself:  Source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders, and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.

4) Integrity (in our model a positive phenomenon):  Being whole and complete – achieved by “honoring one’s word” (creates workability, develops trust).

Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2207782

“The problems we have now in communities and societies are going to be resolved only when we are brought together by a common sense that each of us is a visionary. Each of us must come to the realization that we can function and live at the level of vision rather than following some great leader’s vision. Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader in ourselves.”

-Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard Biography

Knowing, Doing, and Being

Teaching Leadership: Approaches That Emphasize Being

“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders? In this section, several authors share courageous and often unconventional approaches to teaching that target the very essence of who we are, the BE component of leadership education.

“Erhard, Jensen and Granger anchor this collection by taking dead aim at the BE component.  In a highly provocative chapter titled “Creating Leaders”, this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders. Contrasting their ontological approach−described as being and action as experienced ‘on the court’−with more traditional perspectives where leadership is observed and commented on ‘from the stands,’ this chapter presents a rigorous theory of leadership education that begins and ends with the following bold promises to students:

• You will leave this course being who you need to be to be a leader.
• You will leave this course with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively.

“For these authors, integrity, authenticity, and being committed to something bigger than oneself form the base of ‘the context for leadership,’ a context that once mastered, leaves one actually being a leader. It is not enough to know about or simply understand these foundational factors, but rather by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.” –  editors comments from The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being, Edited by Snook, Scott A., Nohria, Nitin N., and Khurana, Rakesh, Sage Publications, Inc., 2011.

“We present a positive model of integrity that provides powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, organizations, and societies. Our model reveals the causal link between integrity as we distinguish and define it, and increased performance and value-creation for all entities. And our model provides access to that causal link.

The philosophical discourse, and common usage as reflected in dictionary definitions, leave an overlap and confusion among the four phenomena of integrity, morality, ethics, and legality. This confounds the terms so that the efficacy and potential power of each of them is seriously diminished.

In this new model, we distinguish all four phenomena (integrity, morality, ethics, and legality) as existing within two separate realms, and within those realms as belonging to distinct and separate domains. Integrity exists in a positive realm devoid of normative content. Morality, ethics and legality exist in a normative realm of virtues, but in separate and distinct domains. This new model: 1) encompasses all four terms in one consistent theory, 2) makes the “moral compass” potentially available in each of the three virtue phenomena clear and unambiguous, and 3) does this in a way that raises the likelihood of those now clear moral compasses actually shaping human behavior.

This all falls out primarily from the unique treatment of integrity in our model as a purely positive phenomenon, independent of normative value judgments. Integrity is thus not about good or bad, or right or wrong, or what should or should not be.

We distinguish integrity as a phenomenon of the objective state or condition of an object, system, person, group, or organizational entity, and define integrity as: a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.

We assert that integrity (the condition of being whole and complete) is a necessary condition for workability, and that the resultant level of workability determines the available opportunity for performance. Hence, the way we treat integrity in our model provides an unambiguous and actionable access to superior performance (however one wishes to define performance).

For an individual we distinguish integrity as a matter of that person’s word being whole and complete, and for a group or organizational entity as what is said by or on behalf of the group or organization being whole and complete. In that context, we define integrity for an individual, group, or organization as: Honoring one’s word.

Oversimplifying somewhat, honoring your word as we define it means you either keep your word (do what you said you would do and by the time you said you would do it), or as soon as you know that you will not, you say that you will not to those who were counting on your word and clean up any mess caused by not keeping your word.

Honoring your word is also the route to creating whole and complete social and working relationships. In addition, it provides an actionable pathway to earning the trust of others.

We demonstrate that the application of cost-benefit analysis to one’s integrity guarantees you will not be a trustworthy person (thereby reducing the workability of relationships), and with the exception of some minor qualifications ensures also that you will not be a person of integrity (thereby reducing the workability of your life). Therefore your performance will suffer. The virtually automatic application of cost-benefit analysis to honoring one’s word (an inherent tendency in most of us) lies at the heart of much out-of-integrity and untrustworthy behavior in modern life.

In conclusion, we show that defining integrity as honoring one’s word provides 1) an unambiguous and actionable access to superior performance and competitive advantage at both the individual and organizational level, and 2) empowers the three virtue phenomena.”  – abstract for Integrity: Where Leadership Begins – A New Model of Integrity

Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, & Steve Zaffron

“Instead of looking for a great leader, we are in an era where each of us needs to find the great leader within ourselves.”

– Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard in 1982

The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School of Government is dedicated to excellence in leadership education and research.  At the heart of CPL’s mission is the enhancement of leadership teaching and research. By creating opportunities for reflection and discovery for students, scholars, and practitioners from different disciplines, sectors, cultures, and nations, CPL promotes a dynamic exchange of ideas. It is equally committed to bridging the gap between leadership theory and practice.

Since 2008, they have posted their videos—including archived footage from a decade of leadership events, speeches, and interviews— on their YouTube channel.   With 21,763 views, Werner Erhard‘s lecture on his latest work: “Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance,” was the second most watched video in 2010. –  Top Ten CPL Videos of 2010

Werner Erhard speaks to Kennedy School students (2009)

Werner Erhard speaks at Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership on:

Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance.”

Slides available at SSRN

“Within everyone there is a natural latent leadership ability.”

-Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard at Leadership Conference

Werner Erhard on Leadership

Werner Erhard at Social Science Research Network

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