Warren Bennis is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author, widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies.
Warren Bennis on Werner Erhard’ work and ideas
“I was at a point where I had been working very hard as a university president and had a coronary event in London while I was staying with friends.
Another friend of mine from the US came over at that time said OK, Warren you got to do it now you’ve got to understand what been going on in your life. And I thought it was an incredible experience and in a way that it now would be hard more than twenty five years later to really recount exactly what it was.
It was not so much the openness to myself as much as it was to my admiration of the collective beings who were with me and their generosity. The generosity, the ocean of affinities that opened up as a result, when you see people with so many different backgrounds so many different languages, and I fell in love with the ocean of wonder that opened up and the collectivity of people.
Second thing was that I was very impressed with the structure of it, with the technology of it. I love the very structure and the foundation for learning in the carpeted characterless hotel room on Piccadilly in London. That impressed me.
The biggest idea or distinction that hit home was a thing that in high faluting academic circles they call agency theory. Do you know that word? It’s a very American word, agent, agency. It has something to do with being alive.
It has something with taking responsibility. You actually create your wonder. You are the author of your life and it you want a life, you better start writing one. That’s the fist thing. Because you are the author, the word author is the root of the word authority. You have to be the author of your own life.
I am impressed and in admiration of so much that Werner’s teachings have done for so many thousands of people to give them that nudge to write their own stories.
To me the single part of the technology has to do with goosing them into making the changes that they always wanted to make but never did. And the other things is to let them see that they are not lonely that there are other people who are on the same path that are searching for more understanding of what they can do with their life other than just die, or live a life dying on the installment plan day by day by day..
I use the word jolt or shock or unfreeze because habit is a great deadener and most people are chained by habit and too often a less successful habit.
I think where the work of Werner really comes in handy is by getting people to understand we are not trapped in our silos and we do not have to conceal and play games we are in this because the reason we are together is to achieve a goal and I think what the transformative essence of Erhard’s work as applied to corporations is to make people more capable of taking risks and dealing with and opening up all those blinkered shutters that make up most of or organizational life.
The substrate of all of est’s and Erhard’s work has to do with opening up boundaries within silos, opening up boundaries within oneself, with other individuals. That’s what its all about
Where Werner’s genius is to me is with the technology that makes the change from abstraction into behavior.
Werner has a philosophical mind that I can’t fully comprehend. Werner, while he may not agree with this has created a technology not uniquely American, but certainly has its roots here that has unleashed the possibilities of being human. That’s the legacy.”