Viewing The Future Beyond Old Vantage Points

by Jay Deragon on 07/18/2013

Vantage PointsIt starts out as a news report, a conversation or an online story about something that represents significant change. Our sensors read or hear words and see images and assimilate the initial stimuli which then create some sort of correlation to our beliefs, experiences and education. Suddenly and quickly we make a conclusion on new information as we filter it through our truths.

The fact is our truths are distorted by the vantage points from which we view people, things and life in general. However, all of our vantage points are framed by past references, experiences and education.

We cannot effectively adjust to the disruptive change that surround us unless we learn how to respond to change from a deeper place that connects us to the future rather than reacting to it from old vantage points. If all we do is react to change using the same old logic and the same old patterns of beliefs then we will miss the emerging opportunities that can be seen but only by viewing them from different vantage points.

Vantage points provide a broad view of issues, information and facts from which individuals and audiences can choose to consider when formulating their own positions on emerging changes once they understand the underlying structures, mental models, and sources that are responsible for creating them.  If ignored or misunderstood the lack of understanding the sources of change can keep us locked into reenacting the same old view points of the past against a future with a whole new set of circumstances.

Ego-System Awareness versus Eco-System Reality

Iceberg model

Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer write in their new book “Leading from the Emerging Future” Today’s thinking shapes how we enact tomorrow’s reality. This link between thought and social reality creation is nowhere more visible than in our economy. The eight disconnects that we listed above represent a decoupling of two worlds: a decoupling of the structure of societal reality from the structure of economic thought. We could also say that they’re a decoupling of the structures of eco-system reality from the structures of ego-system awareness. Today’s economic reality is embedded in a global eco-system of environmental, social, political, and cultural contexts that are highly intertwined and that evolve in uncertain, complex, and volatile ways. These conditions require a mindset on the part of decision-makers that is more open, attentive, adaptive, and tuned in to emerging changes.

Bridging the gap between eco-system reality and ego-system awareness is the main challenge of leadership today. Decision-makers across the institutions of a system have to go on a joint journey from seeing only their own viewpoint (ego-awareness) to experiencing the system from the perspective of the other players, particularly those who are most marginalized. The goal must be to co-sense, co-inspire, and co-create an emerging future for their system that values the well-being of all rather than just a few.

Technology has connected all of us and increased the awareness of meaningful issues that impact the sustainability of the quality of our collective lives. The collective viewpoints must shift in order to reduce the divides between our past and the future so we may enter into a new reality.

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