The Initiative’s primary focus is the Leadership Course. 35 faculty members from around the world, supported by the Initiative, are delivering the full Course or versions of the Course in their respective institutions. Erhard, Jensen, and their colleagues have personally delivered the Course at 8 universities and colleges.
In the editors’ introduction to The Handbook For Teaching Leadership (2011), Harvard Business School’s Scott Snook (Senior Lecturer), Nitin Nohria (Dean of Harvard Business School), and Rakesh Khurana (Dean of Harvard College, and Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development) say the following about this leadership course:
“How does one teach leadership in a way that not only informs them about leadership but also transforms them into actually being leaders? …this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders. Contrasting their ontological approach described as being and action as experienced “on the court” with more traditional perspectives where leadership is observed and commented on “from the stands,” this chapter presents a rigorous theory of leadership education that begins and ends with the following bold promises to students:
• “You will leave this course being who you need to be to be a leader.
• “You will leave this course with what it takes to exercise leadership effectively.
“…by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.”
The quotes above are from the editor’s introduction of a chapter titled “Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model” written by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, and Kari Granger in the book “The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being”
Erhard, Jensen and colleagues have led the Leadership Course at the following universities and colleges:
The Initiative’s purpose is to bring the ontological / phenomenological model and methodology utilized in this leadership course to education — including research, course development, and teaching.
Course Model and Methodology
This course is a leadership laboratory using an Ontological / Phenomenological Model. The unique content and learning / teaching methods employed in this course are based on a new ontological / phenomenological model of leader and leadership. This new model of leadership has been specifically designed to provide you with access to being a leader and to the effective exercise of leadership. Rather than studying and trying to emulate the characteristics, styles, and actions of noteworthy leaders, or to merely impart knowledge about leadership, this new model of leadership provides you with access to being a leader and to the effective exercise of leadership as your natural self-expression.
- An epistemological mastery of a subject leaves you knowing. An ontological mastery of a subject leaves you being.
- Tools to achieve significant breakthroughs in your professional and personal life – in any environment, no matter what the circumstances.
The course gives access to the ways of being, thinking, planning, and acting required to be a leader and to exercise leadership effectively.
- Access to being a leader in all domains of leadership.
This course gives access to being an effective leader in the following areas: yourself and your life, team and organizational leadership in business, in school, and in any area where you are committed to making a difference. For example: family, community, and politics.
- The ability to gain access and influence as a leader on a larger stage.
This course has a track record of making a significant difference for participants, whether you already hold a major leadership position or have had little to no leadership experience. When you have completed this course you will have experienced whatever personal transformation is required for you to be a leader as your natural self-expression – in any environment and no matter what conditions confront you. Even when you personally lack certain experience or knowledge, you will know what to do to be an effective leader.
For the Slide-Deck Textbook for the course as most recently delivered by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, Steve Zaffron, and Jeri Echeverria see: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1263835.