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The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization Paperback – June 20, 1994
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This should be a valuable guide and reference to those leading, or simply taking part in, organizational transformation. There's a lot to learn and use in the Fieldbook. -- Philip Carroll, President and CEO, Shell Oil Company A landmark book. * Christian Century * 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 * Peter Senge's concepts take work. They take time. They take personal commitment. But, I believe, they hold the potential for sustained success. -- Robert E. Allen, Chairman of the Board, AT&T Senge's message of growth and prosperity holds strong appeal for today's business leaders. * Fortune * 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.
From the Publisher
Senge's best-selling The Fifth Discipline led Business Week to dub him the "new guru" of the corporate world; here he offers executives a step-by-step guide to building "learning organizations" of their own.
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Top customer reviews
Covering a wealth of topics in only a little over 400 pages, this book addresses the breakdowns in many modern managagement methods. And, not just the most obvious (ego-centered leaders operating in a sort of "do what I say, not what I do" personalist approach), but really digging into the nature of system breakdown both mechanically (operations) and biologically (personnel). That is, he cuts past the fads of the past ("Management by measurement" or "Competition between people is essential to achieve desired performance" anyone? see page xiv) to unearth more abstract, yet therefore timeless models of the learning organization, that to make real, must be lived, yet allow a transformation and continuous evolution to become truly embodied in such a way that recall memory isn't in operation in the system players and their strategies, but more a muscle memory that requires less thinking about the system and more an allowing of the principles to manifest themselves through each organization, department or person(s).
The book highlights and delves deeply into:
1. How our actions create our reality
2. How our mental models limit our actions
3. How a system is a biofeedback process
4. How short-term gains are self-limiting without long-term commitment
5. How the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
6. How personal mastery replaces personal gain
7. How change and growth come through the parts uniting to form the whole.
8. How to "become a leader is to become a human being."
This book is a useful guide for those taking university statistics. It’s filled with history, personal experiences, and must-knows. It’s dense, however simplified impressively well. For example, he describes the complex system behind a descent beer company through the perspective of the Brewer, wholesaler, and retailer. Along with week by week events, Data, charts, and descriptions. Somehow, he even connects the truck driver into all this…
There are so many examples, he taps into every body’s perspective.
There is one minor drawback: he cites too many examples and naturally does not have space to explain all of them. This book might require a bit of personal research if read critically. For example, he makes controversial claims like the modern education system being flawed, and the influence of terrorism, but hesitates to dissect the issues. He throws them in as fun facts, and trusts the leader to take it from there.
His revised edition contains almost 100 new pages:
-step-by step teachings on how to be not just a leader, but also a designer, teacher, and steward
-how to reconnect within society as a whole
It stands out in the genre of systems thinking literature by addressing the point that’s been bothering many of us: If everyone wants people-centered learning organizations; why don’t they exist? Senge claims it’s because we have no idea the kind of commitment to change that is necessary.
That really engaged my attention; I wondered “what exactly does it take to break the vicious cycles?” I don’t want to spoil the experience for you, because the book is certainly worth the short time it takes to read, but here are two ideas that really stood out and may motivate you to find the many others.
On the discipline of building shared vision: “It's not what the vision is – it’s what the vision does.”
And, surprisingly drawing on the work of theoretical physicist David Bohm during the discussion of Team Learning: ‘Dialogue and discussion are the mechanisms of team learning. Dialogue allows us to expose our thoughts to ourselves; discussion lets us defend them.’
I can see why some reviewers call it redundant, I'd advise everyone to keep pushing. It is a bit verbose but you'd miss a few gems if you choose to skip over passages and or pages.
I'm really happy with this purchase. I bought "Systems Thinking for Social Change" before I purchased this one, and I couldn't get through it entirely. It references "The Fifth Discipline" as well as "Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows, After previewing both I figured I'd start here. And I will read them all, this is such a fascinating subject.