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The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 21, 2006
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"Forget your old, tired ideas about leadership. The most successful corporation of the 1990s will be something called a learning organization." -- Fortune Magazine.
From the Inside Flap
An MIT Professor's pathbreaking book on building "learning organizations" -- corporations that overcome inherent obstacles to learning and develop dynamic ways to pinpoint the threats that face them and to recognize new opportunities. Not only is the learning organization a new source of competitive advantage, it also offers a marvelously empowering approach to work, one which promises that, as Archimedes put it, "with a lever long enough... single-handed I can move the world."
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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."
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.’
As an engineering major, I felt this book did a very good job in tying a lot of concepts together that is practical in the major. The book also does a good job of highlighting where systems thinking is also practical in improving broader things like family, teams and organizations along with businesses. This book is definitely worth the read for anybody as it applies to everyday interactions. For anybody with management and business control positions, this book will definitely enlighten you on the benefits of operating under a learning organization especially if working in a supply chain industry.
Most recent customer reviews
many modern management and leadership in the organisation that want to develop itself to be an organisation for the future.