The fifth discipline (shortly)
The Fifth Discipline is about creating a learning organization by using these five disciplines:
- SHARED VISION
- Means all employees share the same vision for where the company needs to go. The vision needs to be genuine and actually shared by employees and management, so that everyone is trying to improve the company processes that will bring it closer to its vision.
- MENTAL MODELS
- Are about presumptions and generalizations we have that affect our actions and ideas. You should closely watch your beliefs and behavior and honestly weigh if some changes should be made. One way of affecting mental models is by being open and honest with others.
- TEAM LEARNING
- Include two parts, which are:
Good teamwork leads to results that couldn’t have been achieved alone and you can learn faster and more in a team than alone. This takes trust, respect and the shift of mental models to be able to efficiently learn from each other in a team.
- PERSONAL MASTERY
- Is about being proactive and always pushing to learn. In personal mastery it is important to define what is important to us and being conscious of our current reality.
- SYSTEM THINKING
- Is about looking at the big picture and thinking of an organization and a whole or a living organism even. This means analyzing the systems used and looking for the bigger problem instead of focusing on small details that won’t affect the overall efficiency of the organization. This is also the one discipline that binds the other four together, so SYSTEM THINKING is possible once the first four disciplines have been practiced.
An interesting idea to consider thinking about is Senge’s description of THE THREE LEVELS OF EXPLANATION:
- Reactive explanations based on EVENTS
- Responsive explanations based on BEHAVIOR
- Generative explanations based on STRUCTUAL LEVEL
These three are all linked to each other, because structure or systems create behavior which then create events. I think the important thing about the levels of explanation is that without knowing the structural level, you can’t change the behavior and without knowing the behavior you can’t change the events. Really looking at problems through these three levels will most likely make finding a solution a lot easier and more effective.
This book has so many different good ideas and things to take into practice so im not going to go through everything. For me, one of the most important ideas I came to really understand and believe is that looking for the root causes for things is really important and that considering the whole big picture will really benefit everyone. Personal success will be satisfying for some time, but strengthening all the processes and different parts will really end up benefiting everyone the most. Being considerate of others and having an open mind to learn is something we all need to think about. Having a consciousness of the biases will all live by will eliminate unnecessary strain and discomfort from our personal and work lives. I see a lot of the ideas presented in the fifth discipline at Pro Akatemia, for example Senge talked a lot about having dialogues instead of debates and conversations. This is one way that I have personally witnessed to be very effective and really make our team stronger. Using the idea of a Learning organization makes us learn things together which keeps us on the same page, eliminates frustrations and builds respect and trust.
For me personally I can see dialogue as a huge key for success and also to stay as conscious as possible about my assumptions and generalizations that I know will ultimately end up holding me back. Finding things out for myself before making assumptions and being open with others to reach our goals are also something I will take into use.
To sum all this up, something I found pretty interesting was that Senge says that there isn’t a step-by-step plan but that all of these disciplines to some extent, can and will help you and your organization become better and that you have to start wherever you can and see where it takes you. Its just a process of always trying to learn, staying honest and conscious with ourselves and others and really caring about what we do.