Identifying blind spots of EDI competences in management by applying Theory U


In the EDIFY EDU project work package 2, country partners have carried out research activities aiming to understand the current EDI situation and practices in work life. As part of this work, in Finland, we organized workshops to co-explore the blind spots of EDI competences in management.

”To really change the outer world we first need to shift the inner place that we operate from. This is done by activating deeper sources of knowing.” – Otto Scharmer 

We applied Theory U that was created by Otto Scharmer, to develop leadership skills and competencies to meet societal and global challenges. One of its cornerstones is to become aware of the challenges involved and to make invisible thoughts and operating models visible. Often these blind spots can be difficult to observe or identify in the middle of the hectic everyday life.

In the workshops, we studied these blind spots together in a safe environment and used exercises to bring into a common discussion the possible leadership challenges and shortcomings behind the blind spots. These exercises allowed participants to explore their own personal lived experiences and potential “stuck” situations related to EDI through multiple ways of knowing, drawing not only on cognitive, rational thinking, but also emotional and embodied ways of knowing.

Figure 1. The workshops were facilitated by an expert on Theory U, Kirsi Hakio from Aalto University.

We learned that promoting EDI requires time and presence, which is not always supported by a work culture that values efficiency. Encountering with other people and actively listening to their views may need a break in the normal hectic agenda-driven routines and becoming present in the moment. Self-awareness, self-compassion and emotional competence were found to play a role in creating an experience of safe space for mutual learning/ tai co-learning, trust and sharing.