Balance in Action ~ Lessons in leadership, emergence and life

Balance in Action shares this beautiful music of Zubin Mehta and Placido Domingo as used by Otto Scharmer of the Theory U in his workshops on: Lessons in leadership, Emergence and Life. All in the emotion of Beauty by Simplicity...

Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the founding chair of the Presencing Institute. He has co-designed and delivered award-winning leadership programs for clients including Daimler, Pricewaterhouse, Fujitsu, and Eileen Fisher. Scharmer is a core faculty member of the UN Leaders Program (at the UN Staff College) and chairs the MIT IDEAS program, which brings together key leaders from business, government, and civil society to co-create profound innovation and systems change. He introduced the concept of “presencing” – learning from the emerging future – in his books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with P. Senge, J. Jaworski, and B. S. Flowers), which have been translated into twelve languages.

The video of Zubin Mehta conducting Placido Domingo at the Three Tenors concert in Rome (1990). The music is ‘No Puede Ser’ (It Cannot Be), by the Spanish composer Sorozobal. Many people love this particular video: not only because of the exquisite singing, the emotion and the magnificent setting, but also because it clearly shows great artists co-creating a transcendent moment, so we can do the same in our own lesser worlds.

Even though the singing is totally wonderful, and the triumph at the end is a collective one, for Otto Scharmer the moment is mainly down to the energy, the empathy, the openness and the trust, in fact the inspired leadership, of the conductor.


After all the hard work of rehearsal, leadership at this level really is about paying attention, letting go, trusting and waiting.


Mehta had the task of bringing together the energy of two orchestra's who had never played together until that evening, a hugely talented star, and the audience waiting to be thrilled.  He leads through listening.




Scharmer points out how Zubin Mehta throws his arms wide at a certain point, opening himself up entirely to whatever is coming, and then waits, even dropping his arms completely, surrendering to the emerging energy, until  Placido Domingo approaches the heights, and the conductor brings the orchestra to a towering conclusion in support of the star.


The trick is to allow it to happen, to provide a still centre that is at the same time outside the centre, holding the space, and strong enough to protect the magic that is approaching.


Watch it again, and you'll see what he means.



The always interesting Otto Scharmer was sharing this insight at a leadership workshop.  He uses the term "presencing", which has the meaning both of bringing something important into the present, and also of "pre-sensing" that it is about to emerge, and allowing it to do so.


This point illuminates so much about every aspect of life, which is naturally always ‘balance in action’.


To learn more about holding the space, bridging opposites, co-creating … visit



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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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