Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. In his book Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges: The Social Technology of Presencing (Berrett-Koehler, 2009), Scharmer presents his model of listening. Here’s a summary of the four levels of listening as described in that model.
1. Downloading “Yeah, I know that already”: listening to reconfirm what I already know. Listening from the assumption that you already know what is being said; therefore you listen only to confirm habitual judgments.
2. Factual “Oh, I didn’t know that”: listening to pick up new information. Factual listening is when you pay attention to what is different, novel, or disquieting when contrasted with what you already know.
3. Empathic “I know exactly how you feel”: listening to see something through another person’s eyes, forget one’s own agenda. Empathic listening is when the listener pays attention to the feelings of the speaker. It opens the listener and allows an experience of “standing in the other’s shoes.” Attention shifts from the listener to the speaker, allowing for deep connection on multiple levels.
4. Generative “I can’t explain what I just experienced.” Listening from the field of possibility. Generative listening is difficult to express in linear language. It is a state of being in which everything slows down and inner wisdom is accessed. In group dynamics, it is called synergy. In interpersonal communication, it is described as oneness and flow.
Which levels of listening do you habitually employ? When was the last time you managed to get below levels 1 and 2 to the deeper connections possible at levels 3 and 4? In the words of the old limbo tune, “How low can you go?”
What is the Spectrum of Impact Investing Approaches?
Given the field’s growth and increased number of actors, the last ten years have also seen a proliferation of definitions and terminology related to impact investing. In fact, strong opinions prevail regarding whether or not the term “impact investing” is the best to capture this field. While some prefer mission-related investing or sustainable/responsible investing, still impact investing is most commonly used.
Rather than arguing about the terms, let's discuss three approaches and one overarching strategy to describe impact investor practices. Depending on who you are—and your goals and capacity—you may have the resources and willingness for some but not all of these approaches. See the image of the home as a good metaphor for describing these approaches to managing and being accountable for your assets.
Clean Up: This approach reflects the belief that your assets should align with your values, and by holding or divesting specific assets you can increase that alignment and express your values. For example: Clean and remove toxins.
Renovate: In this approach, you select assets based on specific investment criteria that define eligible and ineligible investments with the goal of incorporating the positive and negative externalities into your investment decision. For example: Paint your house.
Add a Room: By picking a specific theme, you are using your capital to drive the generation of a specific environmental or social impact. For example: Add a new addition to your house.
Manage and Measure: This overarching strategy is to continuously measure and manage the positive and negative impact of your assets and respond to new data and events. You will track the emergence of new environmental and social movements, as they become impact investment products. For example: Maintain and repair your roof.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors yesterday published its handbook for impact investors, a refresh of a guide they first published ten years ago, a lifetime ago in impact investing. It is a comprehensive (182 pages) guide to the nuts and bolts of impact investing, with some help from a 45-year old avatar investor named Sophia.
With so many people now trying to get themselves oriented in investing their money for social and environmental impact, it is excellent to have a fully updated primer for beginners, and a reference book for the more experienced.
The Handbook is available (for free) at: https://lnkd.in/dH8qK7U