Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard is an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness of and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world.  For more than 40 years he has been the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational, and social transformation.

His work has been the source of new perspectives for thinkers and practitioners in fields as diverse as business, education, philosophy, medicine, psychotherapy, developing and emerging countries, conflict resolution and community building.  Erhard has created new ways of seeing things in areas where progress has stalled or where breakthroughs would make a significant difference.  A majority of the Fortune 100 companies, and many foundations and governmental entities, have used his ideas and models.  Fortune magazine’s 40th anniversary issue (5/15/95), in examining the major contributions to management thinking, recognized Werner Erhard’s ideas about methods for empowering people as one of the major innovations in management thinking of the last few decades.

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

“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

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

 

 

 

Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model

Abstract of Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model

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.

– Werner Erhard, Independent
– Michael C. Jensen, Harvard Business School; Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
– Kari L. Granger, Sunergos, LLC; Center For Character and Leadership Development