I recently read Peter Senge’s famous tome, The Fifth Discipline. The book is well known as a handbook for learning organizations of all kinds. Senge is clear in his expression, uses good examples, and pulls valid and well-researched content from some of the world’s best loved organization development and systems thinking experts (e.g. Chris Argyris and Donella Meadows). If one truly engages all five disciplines, the stage is set for a much healthier organization than the ones most of us have worked in.
The book is useful and worth the read, particularly in light of the way that many people use the term “5th Discipline” as synonymous with organizational learning. Senge himself says the fifth discipline is systems thinking, a holistic approach to looking at how organizations function within a greater context. Systems thinkers embrace ideas of interconnectedness, feedback, and adaptation that ultimately bring about an understanding of interconnectedness and dynamic change.
“So what are Senge's other four disciplines?” you ask.
Personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning.
While the book isn’t all you need to create great, sustainable organizations, it is a good place to start.
Are YOU ready to scratch the surface of what it means to promote organizational learning?
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