CONNECTING with yourself, your community, and your stakeholders are basic for effective leadership. The rules of presencing espoused by Otto Scharmer is a thought movement that encourages human beings to approach themselves from the view of an emerging future. It is mostly associated with sensing or understanding the things around you, and within you in order to influence your situation. Presencing is a complex set of learning so we start with the basic – which is to connect.
To connect with yourself is to understand your calling in order to uncover common ground with others around you. When we communicate with people, we can easily sense that we are drawn to those who think like us or who share our passion, principles and advocacies. To connect, we need to listen - listening to what life calls us to do, listening to ourselves and then eventually listening to other individuals who are in our spheres of work and advocacies, then and listening to what emerges from the future, the trends, the things that are foreboding. Scharmer’s point links with Rober Greenleaf’s servant leadership – where he sees a true servant leader as someone who can conceptualize what needs to be done in order to create a definite future to an extent possible.
To listen, one needs to simply “attend” – be there. Be present at the right time and place. It is said - all great ideas are triggered by something. The so-called U process of presencing begins with perception - to “pay attention to what life calls you to do.”. Hence, the U approach is based constantly on the process of consultation and dialogues.
As leaders, the U process trains us to connect, to listen to dialogue with the so-called “core players in the field”. Just like in design thinking, the important part of the process to gather insights of our stakeholders and customers. There are many important ideas and lessons that can be derived from connecting and listening to people you are serving as a leader or as a business entity.
The third part of connecting is co-initiating. When you connect and dialogue, the next step is to create ways to continuously connect and dialogue and produce results. Presencing refers to this as bringing together a diverse set of personalities and forming groups to inspire and promote common strategies and goals leading to create a world that is different from the current one – leading stakeholders from the current state to a desired state.
These thoughts allow me these days to focus on my mission of helping several cities create their roadmaps to generate jobs and investments for their communities by leveraging the potential of the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.
An important question to ask is - where should investors requiring knowledge-based and digital services go? Only to cities who truly believe that creating an ecosystem ideal for knowledge-based and digital jobs is one of the clearest ways to a robust local economy. I do not recommend you go to cities that don't think so. Plain and simple logic.
How do you spot these cities? Start with their data. Is it comprehensive? Is it complete? Is it updated? Is it updated in real-time? How extensive is their data? Do their past data have a 5-year range, a 10-year range? Does the city look at their 10 years past data to create solutions for the next ten years? Take a look at how they use their numbers in allocating resources, in identifying priorities, in undertaking strategies. Take a look at the quality of their strategies? Are their interventions palliative? No foresight? Only for photo ops? Take a look at the quality of their planners? Are they skilled not only in theories but practice? There are many things to consider.
These points are also given to the cities. Create your cities future. Dream for your cities. If you are a leader with no dreams or with inferior dreams simply anchored on very low-hanging fruits, don't lead. Just be a follower. Leadership is a responsibility -- whether you are a business leader, a government leader, a church leader, a school leader -- to lead is going out and ahead to show the way. You don't wait for others to show you the way.
Remember - at the end of the day - the quality of our leaders - reflect the quality of citizens or followers that we are. We all need to join hands and create the future.