The ontological methodology gives one access to being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as it is lived and directly experienced on the court.

You get left being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as your natural self-expression. When you think about what it is to perform on the court it really does need to be your natural self-expression. I like to watch Nadal play tennis or Federer play tennis. I don’t think they are remembering how to play. I don’t think that they learned something and then remembered it. No, for them the game is a natural self-expression and as such they become extraordinarily powerful players.

We allow people to discover for themselves that their way of being and their actions, or if you like, their way of being when being a leader and their actions when exercising leadership effectively, are a match, a natural match, or as we would say it in the course a natural correlate of the way what they are dealing with occurs for them. So we could say that being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as my natural self-expression depended on the way what I am dealing with as a leader occurs for me. How does it show up for me, what I am dealing with?

Now the question is – how am I going to get whatever it is I am dealing with to occur for me such that my natural self expression is one of being a leader and one of exercising leadership effectively? The question is –  where am I going to get my being and action now? And for the most part we get our being and action right from the contents of our brain which is what’s happened in the past. But if I am standing in the future, what my brain has to draw on is its imagination and its creativity. If I am standing in the past looking at the future, it’s difficult to see the pathways. It’s kind of like looking from the bottom of a mountain up to the top, it’s difficult to see how I might get there, but if I stand on the top of the mountain and look down the mountain I’m probably going to see more than one way to get there. Leading from standing in the future reveals a lot more possibilities for realizing that future.

My experience with really outstanding leaders is that they never come up with the future to be presented to the people that they are leading. They find a way to get that future created from the people they are leading. If you are leading me and you come to me with, “Well Werner, this is the top of the mountain. This is where we are going to get.”  I have to buy in to it.

But if I participate with you in creating which mountain is going to be the top of the mountain, then it doesn’t require buy in. Getting there belongs to me equally as it belongs to you. You may have had a lot to do with shaping the conversation so I could see which mountain was going to make it. I think that being a really good leader one wants to keep in mind the critical importance that the people who have to act to realize the future that you are committed to realizing, that that future really belongs to them. They are moved touched and inspired by what that future is, both its accomplishment but also by seeing that along the way they are going to be able to fulfill their concerns. They are going to find an opportunity for self expression and finally they are going to see that they can make a contribution, a noteworthy contribution that really made a difference in realizing that future.

Over the 40 years and the impact that I’ve seen people engaged in this work have on their own lives you have a sense that there is something truly valuable here. I am sure that there is a lot more that’s beyond my reach and I’d like to leave it so that people standing on whatever it is that my colleagues and I have created that they can get to that more that is beyond our reach.

– Werner Erhard

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