Writings Archives

Breaking Out of the Box

Here is an excerpt from Breaking Out of The Box which was first published in the fall 1989 issue of Benchmark Magazine: “What great executives will do in the 1990s, says Erhard, is to create different paradigms that are appropriate to the commitments in various parts of the organization. “They will be able to shape organization-wide paradigms that are appropriate to the moving sands, changing markets, changing competition and introduction of new technologies.” Erhard says that instead of waiting for a new paradigm to become apparent, we can create and invent futures that “were not going to happen anyway…The most interesting part of management is the part that’s committed to what wasn’t predictable…” more

If not now, when?

“We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world what our lives are really about. Each of us has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution – it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings.

If not you, who?
If not now, when?
If not here, where?”

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard Archives

Werner Erhard is a lecturer, author, consultant, and the creator of one of the most influential technologies of the last 30 years, the technology of transformation. The web page at wernererhard.net/archive.html provides a collection of historical articles written by or about Werner Erhard and his work between 1970 and 1991.

Werner Erhard on Power

POWER

By Werner Erhard, March 21, 1983

Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.

There are two factors worth examining in our impairing velocity, in our disempowering ourselves.

The first is the domain of reasonableness. When we deal with our intentions or act to realize our intentions from reasonableness, we are in the realm of slow, impede and complicate. When we are oriented around the story or the narrative, the explanations, the justifications, we are oriented around that in which there is no velocity, no power.

Results are black and white. In life, one either has results (one’s intentions realized) or one has the reason, story, explanations, and justifications. The person of power does not deal in explanations. This way of being might be termed management by results (not management for results but management by results). The person of power manages him or herself by results and creates a space or mood of results in which to interact with others.

The other factor to be addressed is time. Now never seems to be the right time to act. The right time is always in the future. Usually this appears in the guise of “after I (or we) do so and so, then it will be the right time to act”; or “after so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act”; or “when so and so occurs, then it will be the right time to act.” The guise includes “gathering all the facts,” “getting the plan down,” “figuring out ‘X’,” “getting ready,” etc.

Since now is the only time you have in reality and now will never seem to be the right time to act, one may as well act now. Even though “it isn’t the right time,” given that the “right time” will never come, acting now is, at the least, powerful (even if you don’t get to be right). Most people wait for the decisive moment, whereas people of power are decisive in the moment. – Werner Erhard

Operating Principles for a You and Me World

Operating Principles for a You and Me World
From the March 1980 Graduate Review report on ‘A World That Works For Everyone’

Since we have been raised and educated in a you or me world, and since very few of us have noticed the shift to you and me, we are going to have to work out the rules for living on our own. We won’t get much help. Werner shared his own perceptions of some of the other new rules, or operating principles, for the you and me context:

  • Respect the other person’s point of view, whether or not you agree with it. Recognize that if you had their history, their circumstances, and the forces that play on them, you would likely have their point of view.
  • Consider life a privilege – all of it, even the parts that are difficult or seem a waste of time.
  • Give up the islands that reinforce mediocrity, the safe places where we gossip and complain to one another, where we are petty.
  • Take a chance. Be willing to put your reputation on the line; have something at stake.
  • Work for satisfaction rather than for credit
  • Honor your word. There will be times when the circumstances of life will make you forget who you are and what you’re about. That is when you need to be committed to honoring your word, making what you say count.

The Mind’s Dedication to Survival

The est process is designed to assist the participant to discover through experience, rather than analysis, aspects of his mental functioning and behavior.  The participant “looks at” (without explanation or rationalization) his behavior, feelings, thoughts, history, justifications and the concomitant payoffs.  The realization that previously unrecognized payoffs of apparently negative behavior cause the negative behavior to persist occurs here.  For example, the person may come to experience the self-justification and righteousness that can occur when he is blocked, “out down” or dominated.  As he gets a glimpse of what the mind has accepted as the payoff of these feelings, he gradually becomes aware of the patterns he uses to assert power and control the situation.  He now has the opportunity to see how this behavior allows him to feel “right” while it allows him to make others “wrong.”  He discovers how these old patterns and acts of domination reduce his aliveness and result in perpetuation of unhappiness and discontent.

The Mind’s Dedication to Survival, by Werner Erhard, Gilbert Guerin and Robert Shaw

Werner Erhard’s trip to Moscow in 1990

Werner Erhard leads workshop in the Soviet Union in 1990

_________________________

Excerpted from Werner Erhard’s trip to Moscow in 1990:

“At the beginning of the year, we had an opportunity to look at our work in the context of the beginning of a new decade.  We saw that on the one hand, it’s true that this is a year like any other year, and on the other, we also had and continue to have an opportunity to generate this year, and this decade, as a powerful springboard into the next century for both our individual intentions and as the conversation we are engaged in together, standing for a new possibility for what it is to be human.  In creating this future for ourselves, we allowed ourselves to be inspired by the unprecedented changes which took place in the world, particularly in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe….”

“We have been engaged in an exchange with organizations in the USSR for the past ten years, both through Werner Erhard and Associates (which funded our initial work in the USSR), and the US/USSR Project of the Werner Erhard Foundation…”

“The USSR that we found on this visit is palpably at an historical crossroads. While many people are disturbed by the changes that are taking place because of the basic disruption the represent, there are many people who are taking the opportunity, and the sudden lack of guidelines for action, as a window to create and generate a new and unpredictable future.”

Read the full article.

The Four Foundations of A Great Personal Life, Great Leadership, and Great Organizations

“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), and 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). ”

1. Authenticity:

Being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself.  When leading, being authentic leaves yuo 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 yuo wil 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).

from The Four Foundations of a Great Personal Life, Great Leadership and a Great Organization, by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen, May 3, 2012; posted at SSRN

Handbook For Teaching Leadership

The Editors of the “Handbook for Teaching Leadership” say the following in their introductory chapter:

“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs [students] about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders?” (p. XXIV)

The sole objective of our ontological/phenomenological approach to creating leaders is to leave students actually being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression. By “natural self-expression” we mean a way of being and acting in any leadership situation that is a spontaneous and intuitive effective response to what one is dealing with.

In creating leaders we employ the ontological discipline (from the Latin ontologia “science of being”, see Heidegger (1927)). The ontological model of leader and leadership opens up and reveals the actual nature of being when one is being a leader and opens up and reveals the source of one’s actions when exercising leadership. And ontology’s associated phenomenological methodology (explained in (2) below) provides actionable access to what has been opened up.

The being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership can be accessed, researched, and taught either:

1) as being and action are observed and commented on “from the stands”, specifically as these are observed by someone, and then described, interpreted and explained (third-person theory of), or

2) as being and action are actually experienced “on the court”, specifically as these are actually lived (real-time first-person experience of). As a formal discipline, the “on the court” method of accessing being and action (that is, as being and action are actually lived) is named phenomenology.

In short, an epistemological mastery of a subject leaves one knowing. An ontological mastery of a subject leaves one being.

Of course the students themselves do not need to study ontology; they only require the access to being and the source of action that is provided by the ontological perspective. And, they don’t need to study phenomenology; they only need to be provided with the actionable pathway to the being of being a leader and the actions of effective leadership made available by the phenomenological methodology.

THE HANDBOOK FOR TEACHING LEADERSHIP, Chapter 16, Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, eds., Sage Publications, 2011
Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper 11-037
Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-10
Simon School Working Paper Series No. FR 10-30

 

 

 

Werner Erhard Foundation

The Werner Erhard Foundation was established in 1973 to provide an opportunity for individuals to express their commitment to significantly altering what is possible for humanity. Its mission was to foster and support catalytic projects that would provide far-reaching breakthroughs in fields related to both personal and social development. The foundation brought together individuals from around the world to contribute to and participate in ground-breaking work in the area of human achievement and transformation.

In the nearly 20 years of its operation, the Werner Erhard Foundation granted approximately $4 million for research, scholarly endeavors, and voluntary action. It was the foundation’s privilege to support more than 300 outstanding individuals and organizations from a variety of disciplines. Working in many diverse fields and surroundings, these recipients made a profound contribution to human thinking, growth, and achievement. The work of transformation and personal responsibility was brought to the former Soviet Union and the Werner Erhard Foundation launched projects such as The Hunger Project, The Mastery Foundation, and the Youth at Risk Program, which continue to be vital and active today.

 

Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard is a critical thinker who has influenced the academic community worldwide with his revolutionary ideas first expressed in The est Training. He introduced the 20th Century notion of transformation and has had an enormous impact as a thought leader, humanitarian and business man. Currently retired from business, Werner Erhard devotes his time to speaking, publishing his ideas in academic papers and developing courses and other materials for Universities such as Harvard, Dartmouth, and Erasmus.

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