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The Dance of Change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in a learning organization (The Fifth Discipline) Paperback – March 16, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since its release in 1990, Peter M. Senge's bestselling The Fifth Discipline has converted readers to its innovative business principles of the "learning organization," personal mastery, and systems thinking. Published nearly a decade later, Dance of Change provides a formidable response to businesspeople wondering how to make his programs stick. He outlines potential obstacles (such as initiating transformation, personal fear and anxiety, and measuring the unmeasurable) and proposes ways to turn these obstacles into sources of improvement. Senge--with considerable help from the team who worked on the follow-up development manual, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook--presents an insider's account of long-term maintenance efforts at General Electric, Harley-Davidson, the U.S. Army, and others who are learning organization, along with experience-based suggestions and exercises for individuals and teams. "We are seeking to understand how people nurture the reinforcing growth processes that naturally enable an organization to evolve and change," Senge explains, "and how they tend to the limiting processes that can impede or stop that growth." --Howard Rothman

Review

Advance Acclaim for The Dance of Change:

"Do not read this book from cover to cover. Just dip in anywhere; you'll be surprised and challenged. This is an original and refreshing take on organizational change--on every page an idea stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the subject."
--Warren Bennis, professor, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, and coauthor of Co-Leaders

"The Dance of Change is an extraordinary book. Dancing with Peter Senge and company inspires us to learn new steps and gain new insights. The format and presentation of this provocative and accessible guide to change are as dazzling as its content."
--Frances Hesselbein, Chairman, Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

Critical Acclaim for The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook:

"If you believe, as I do, that people are the only long-term competitive advantage and lifelong learning is the way to fully develop that advantage, you must read this book. It's about the real work, the work of implementation!"
--Richard F. Teerlink, President and CEO, Harley Davidson, Inc.

"Senge's message of growth and prosperity holds strong appeal for today's business leaders."
--Fortune

"Peter Senge's advocacy of the learning organization helped begin a revolution in the workplace. And, the relevance of Senge's work is growing rather than diminishing over time. As more businesses go global, the need to overcome psychological barriers to necessary organizational change increases."
--Management Today
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Product Details

  • Series: The Fifth Discipline
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (March 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385493223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385493222
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Of the FIFTH DISCIPLINE SERIES books, THE DANCE OF CHANGE is by far the most important. THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE and THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELDBOOK are wonderful, valuable books, but they largely avoid the tough question of how to sustain a Learning Organization initiative. Based on lots of experiences in different companies, THE DANCE OF CHANGE is the most realistic, thorough, thoughtful work on achieving large-scale organizational change that has ever been my pleasure to read. I immediately found it helpful in overcoming some of my bad habits (including falling in love with my own jargon rather than using common English). Like THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELDBOOK, THE DANCE OF CHANGE allows you to focus on the areas where you need help the most. The beginning is a wonderful systems-dynamic analysis of how successful change occurs, and how it can be derailed. Even if you do not want to have a Learning Organization, you will find THE DANCE OF CHANGE very valuable for giving you direction on how to achieve permanent, valuable changes. On the subject of achieving the strategy you wish to implement, I strongly urge you to also read THE BALANCED SCORECARD. These books are good complements to each other.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of the FIFTH DISCIPLINE SERIES books, THE DANCE OF CHANGE is by far the most important for you to understand. THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE and THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELDBOOK are wonderful, valuable books, but they largely avoid the tough question of how to sustain a Learning Organization initiative. Based on lots of experiences in different companies, THE DANCE OF CHANGE is the most realistic, thorough, thoughtful work on achieving large-scale organizational change that has ever been my pleasure to read. I immediately found it helpful in overcoming some of my bad habits (including falling in love with my own jargon rather than using common English). Since I first read the book about 9 months ago, I have found it affecting my consulting practice by causing me to focus more on lasting change, than immediate change. That's an important lesson for everyone. Like THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELDBOOK, THE DANCE OF CHANGE allows you to focus on the areas where you need help the most. The beginning is a wonderful systems-dynamic analysis of how successful change occurs, and how it can be derailed. Like THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE FIELDBOOK, you do not need to read THE DANCE OF CHANGE from front to back. I found myself skipping around, and enjoyed the experience. Even if you do not want to have a Learning Organization, you will find THE DANCE OF CHANGE very valuable for giving you direction on how to achieve permanent, valuable changes. On the subject of achieving the strategy you wish to implement, I strongly urge you to also read THE BALANCED SCORECARD. These books are good complements to each other. For picking up on your most important issues, you will find Peter Drucker's MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY to be invaluable.
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Format: Paperback
The core premise of the book is that the key to achieving and sustaining significant change lies in changing people's basic ways of thinking. Those of us who have worked with organizations to achieve meaningful change, quickly come to realize that the central challenge is the engrained patterns of thought in the minds of people. That is the ultimate challenge that this work sets out to tackle.
The question one is left with, as with many books of this type, is not the value of the book (it is excellent), but How many leaders of change will read this volume, take its insights to heart, and ACT upon them?
The book is divided into three sections around the challenges of initiating, sustaining, and redesigning and rethinking. Within these sections are the ten key challenges to profound change. The notes from the field provide a record of organizational change initiatives and specific approaches taken by GE, Hewlett-Packard, British Petroleum, Ford, Dupont, and others. The book includes case histories, round-table discussions, team exercises, checklists, and solid guidance.
This work is densely packed with valuable insights, guidance, and developmental techniques. It offers enormous potential to receptive and motivated readers who are able to move from thought to action. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, founder, Stern & Associates, author of Stern's Sourcefinder: The Master Directory to HR and Business Management Information & Resources, Stern's CyberSpace SourceFinder, and Stern's Compensation and Benefits SourceFinder.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Senge and crew return with another message of change; this one in clear form delineating the barriers to change in organizations. Senge approaches his systems thinking model pragmatically, and he cautions those in companies about key areas that can and will impede progress to new ways of thinking about, say, management. His goal is realistic, his examples lucid and what he forewarns and suggests can improve any organization that is experiencing learning disabilities. Senge's influence is from group process theory, psychotherapy, environmental sustainability (Ray Anderson and Daniel Quinn are cited), consultation gurus and even spiritualists. What kept coming up for me his how Senge treats organizations much like how a therapist may work with a client: as an advocate, a coach and mentor. The processes to change are similar. My only complaint is that Senge speaks of learning organizations commonly as corporations -- even though this work can be applied to even a small business -- and I wish he could have used more diverse examples: from social service agencies, schools and others (these grounds are covered, I hear, in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook). His focus is corporate. Not that this pegs him as the antichrist, but merely that his language often reflects and is directed toward the business culture. Nevertheless, his conclusion expands parameters to include not only humanity but the more-than-human world in which we reside. He closes with quotes from Quinn's My Ishmael about how the "revolution" will be incremental, and how the dance of change will occur organically, much like the process of the living world.
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