Book Notes: The Fifth Discipline

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with everything the concepts are simple but their applications are where they add real value.

Systems thinking – humans are really bad at seeing the impact of cause and effect where the effect is separated from the cause by time. There are three elements – reinforcing feedback which are engines of growth, balancing feedback which acts to slow things down near a target and delay which makes the consequences occur gradually. An important part is that people are actors in the system, not bystanders.

Building the learning organisation – to be able to have a learning organisation the first thing you need are individual learners. The way to achieve this is the pursuit of personal mastery through the tension built with individuals personal vision and striving towards it from their current position.

Mental Models – we all have our own model of the world which impact us constantly. These models our base on our personal experiences. The problem is that these can limit what we can achieve and how we can work with others.

Building shared vision – building a shared vision helps align mental models to the future. With having the same vision in everyone’s mind it is much easier to travel in the same direction. Very often people are told a vision but aligning on it is key.

Team learning – very often people learn things but that knowledge does not spread. This means that the team or organisation are destined to repeat the same problem again and again which wastes the teams energy and time. Building and sharing team learning improves the effectiveness of the organisation.

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