Sensing and pre-sensing

In the 2005 book: Presence, Peter Senge and his co-authors recommend an unusual change model. Ray Sims briefed us on this "U Theory" a couple months ago. The authors suggest we can get into a state of mind where we can foresee emergent changes. Rather than make changes happen, we can discover what changes are coming about and help them along. They suggest that countless successful entrepreneurs have tuned into these emergent changes and capitalized on serving them.

The authors call the frame of mind for foreseeing emergent changes "sensing". The book gives examples from meditation practice and nature retreats. I have my own ways to describe that state of mind:
  • Looking through the eyes of the other, seeing through their point of view
  • Identifying with the other, becoming one with their experience
  • Getting out of the other's face and into their corner, working a deal in their best interests
  • Relating to the other's context, serving their agendas with compassion
  • Caring for the connection between us all, linking the common concerns
  • Giving to the whole what we intend to receive, sharing without limitation
  • Sensing the pattern that ties everything together, embracing the web of interdependencies
When we "get our head into this place", different visions come to mind. We sense what changes are in process. We see how desirable outcomes are falling into place. We can picture how the change requires the current crisis, setback or breakdown. We envision how to go with the flow of what is coming about. The authors call this "pre-sensing" that follows "sensing" the connection with everything involved. We are being the combination while separation is evident, leading the imagined change.

With the emergent change in mind, we naturally prototype ways to serve it. We discover what works for others, provides the intended value and facilitates the necessary changes. We explore how to get the bugs out and accomplish the ends more efficiently. We learn from practicing the prototype how to refine it. We function as quintessential entrepreneurs.


  1. Tom,
    I agree that by "sensing" rather than thinking we open ourselves to many possibilities that are not easy to see with our minds and our logic.

    If we are fully present, open, and connected, we do not take action from the patterns of the past, nor the biases, and beliefs that influence what we experience.

    A great example is the story of the Swiss developing the digital watch; they created it and then rejected it because it didn't fit their idea of what a watch should be. (internal moving parts). The Japanese ended up with it, and since they had no preconceived notions, they were able to take it and run with it.

    We miss so much because we are not present in the moment; but let the past and our thoughts of the future distract us from what is there right in front of us.


  2. Pete
    Thanks for enriching the idea of sensing and presence. I know from your blog posts that you have a great feel for and insight into this.

  3. Now this is what I am talking about. I believe in sensing (and pre-sensing) and I am interested to relate with people who I can learn more from. This idea is really in place. I appreciate 'things' that one can see, not with the natural eyes but with the 'mental' or 'intelligent' eye. And second, you’ve got to have the brain for it, unless it is part of your giftedness. This is not a school product, you don’t learn this art in the classroom, you don’t have this 'eye' because you have an MBA or PhD. You get it through Personal Development (which can include life experiences) or through a Mentor.

    Tony Ndubueze

  4. Tony
    Thanks for your profound comment! I've pasted it into a new post today so everyone can read it and ponder what you've written.