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am 22. März 2007
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift. Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest. I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book. For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did.
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am 21. September 1998
Beneath the shiny coating of words, the bottom line of the author is a poor translation of some of the fundamentals of systems science. The models presented in the book are none other than a banal reinterpretation of behavioural structures that have been studied by systems science for more than 30 years. Admitting this starting point and cutting a lot of the blah-blah about learning would have helped in making this a better book. If you want to read something on learning and change, read Watzlawicz's "Change".
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am 8. April 2000
Nothing happens in isolation, every event or situation is the result of numerous related events. In order to create lasting change in a work environment, in your personal life, or in your physical health, there are numerous interrelated factors that contribute to the current situation.
Within this book you will discover how your actions create your current reality, and why certain actions may or may not bring about the desired change. The book identifies "systems archetypes" such as the snowball effect, balancing loops, growth and under investment, fixes that fail, limits to growth, shifting the burden and others. These are general models that describe many familiar scenarios and situations.
Along the way, the book details:
Personal mastery - a commitment to personal growth and learning
Mental Models - The beliefs that people hold about the world, change, and reality that may be impeding the change process or limiting growth.
Shared Vision - Overcoming mental models and bringing concerns and beliefs out in to the open, so members of an organization may work toward a common goal.
Team learning - Building on shared vision, by aligning goals, dreams and desires, in a manner such that a group of people function as a whole to achieve a common goal.
There are numerous easy to understand examples of the five disciplines at work in the book, that anyone can relate to and understand. They range from corporate examples such as the ultimate failure of Peoples Express airlines, a simple supply chain management scenario in the "Beer Game" and numerous examples from everyday life.
It's an easy reading book, very thought provoking, and enlightening, definitely worth picking up a copy. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, and the Dance of Change provide excellent complimentary reading to the 5th Discipline, and are full of exercises relating to the Fifth Discipline. In addition, Eli Goldratt has written several books that compliment this work very well particularly the Goal.
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am 17. Februar 2000
This is the first of three Senge books I greatly admire, the others being The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change. It is important to keep in mind that "total learning" is a misnomer. We can never learn everything it is possible to learn (are you fluent in Mandarin Chinese?) nor can we ever learn all of the possible applications of what we do know. Senge's objective is to help all organizations (regardless of nature or size) to optimize opportunities for appropriate learning, and, to assist everyone involved to optimize the results of their efforts to learn. What several other reviewers have either ignored or minimized is Senge's substantial contribution to our understanding of effective, sustainable change within any organizational structure. (You are also urged to check out O'Toole's Leading Change, another excellent source of information and counsel.) Senge organizes The Fifth Discipline as follows:
Part I How our Actions Create Our Reality...and How We Can Change It
Part II The Fifth Discipline: The Cornerstone of the Learning Organization
Part III The Core Disciplines: Building the Learning Organization
Part IV Prototypes
Part V Coda
According to Senge, there are five new "component technologies" which are gradually converging to innovate learning organizations: Systems Thinking ("invisible fabrics of interrelated actions"), Personal Mastery (of various skills at the highest possible level), Mental Models ("deeply engrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images" which influence learning), Building Shared Vision (of "a set of principles and guiding practices" which help to define "pictures of the future"), and finally Team Learning (based on dialogue which enables effective collaboration). The book examines each of these five separate but interdependent "disciplines" with meticulous care and compelling eloquence.
Organizations as well as those who comprise them can (and often do) have learning disabilities. For example, what I call the Negative Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "I can't do "it" or "We can't do "it." The prophecy is then fulfilled (of course) as if it had been expressed by the Oracle at Delphi. Senge is well-aware of learning disabilities. Within the framework of his narrative, he suggests a number of practical strategies and tactics to overcome them. In effect, Senge has created a highly-readable, immensely practical, and extraordinarily comprehensive examination of "The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization."
Although first published ten years ago, The Fifth Discipline is more relevant and more valuable today than ever before. Why? Because change is the only constant and it can occur in seconds rather than in years or even days. Because there is now so much more information to absorb, digest, and evaluate. Because organizations are (finally) beginning to recognize their under-utilization of their "human capital" and need immediate assistance. I give The Fifth Discipline the highest possible rating and conclude my review of it by quoting Derek Bok's response when parents of Harvard students complained about a tuition increase: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
Those who share my high regard for this book are encouraged to read William Isaacs' Dialogue, also. Senge provides an excellent Introduction to it.
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am 14. Juli 1997
Learning disabilities caused corporations to vanish. Senge named seven organizational learning disabilities: Equating identity with a job, blaming outsiders for wrongs, reacting construed as proactive, event-orientation rather than process-thinking, the boiled frog mentality to threats, the delusion of learning from experience, and the myth of the management team.

To create generative learning, Senge suggested the Laws of the Fifth Discipline. Yesterday's "solution" could be today's problem. The harder you push, the more resistant the system would become. Things usually go better before they eventually plummet. The easy way out usually leads back in. The cure can be worse than the disease. Faster is slower. Cause and effect often located miles apart in time and space. Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants. He called for systemic thinking, blaming no one else for problems, seeing the long-term and the structural problems, and identifying the least obvious leverage points.

To build a learning organization, Senge suggested four core disciplines. They were personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning. Personal mastery included personal vision, holding creative tension, commitment to the truth, and integrating reason and intuition. Mental models incubated a new business worldview. Shared vision called for enrollment, commitment, and compliance from the team. And team learning encouraged dialogue, discussion and practice within the group.

Senge's call for systemic thinking and a new worldview is prophetic. It demands a rethinking of oneself and a new business outlook. In a world prevalent of short-term success, pragmatic results, and practical skills, Senge's approach could help organizations achieve long-term and continual health.
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am 19. April 2016
I've heard about this book a lot ahead, many keynote speakers a agile conference used to quote from it or considered it worth to be read and having had influence on their way to thinking. So I acquired this one via my company budget here and read it. It is to me really a book of insights. I feel that it revealed to me many mechanics of human interactions that lead me to really try to look behind the surface of daily struggles and to find solutions that will bring more than quick fixes. The section about mental models were eye opening to me, seeing the people bound to their own limits and struggling with "the others". To me, at least, that was a mayor gain on insight.
I just feel sorry, that I did not get hands on that book earlier. It's really worth reading it in a intensive way. Sure, depending on your own experience and knowledge you might rush through some pages but on other pages it took me so much time, since quite often some text tranches lured me into thinking about my current experiences, projects and problems. Anyway, I suggest this book for people who want to see things do in a persistent way, and those who want to change old habits for the better. And for those who need inspiration and food for self motivation.
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This is definitely an excellent work about organizations and its evolution based on David' s Bohm holistic view of the universe. One of its main drawbacks is that when applied to human affairs takes us to a new kind of totalitarism, more subtle but at last totalitarism, in which the role and leadership of the individual is replaced by the work of the team. As "the universe is basically an indivisible whole", the concept of hierarchy disapears completely, so the natural consequence when applied to organizations is to flatten them. The role of the "real leader", is replaced by a "facilitator", because we are all equal. Even though the intention of the whole work is to make evolution to go on, the concept of a facilitator, of the role of the team, and even the idea that "thought is to a large degree collective", will take us far from a "creative organization" as contraposed to a "learning organization". If the team is the main player in organization who is going to do the real work ? No, definitively we need not just a minimum of hierarchy, but some sort of a fundamental principle in which the opposites become complementary, some sort of basic unit, in which the opposites are immersed in a comprehensive whole. This in an emerging new concept that has been applied succesfully in: the Object Oriented Methodology in which one of the fundamental principle is the concept of hierarchy; which can be also be found in works as the Seven Habits of highly effective People; The Corporate Mistic of Gay Hendricks; but also in the ancient wisdom book, The I Ching.
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am 9. Juli 1997
A must buy if you wish to think at all about any organisation you work in.

Senge takes readers on a journey through five levels of
organisational learning, each interconnecting what motivates individuals to
learn, to share knowhow with colleagues and the steps leaders must take
to stop organisations getting dumber and dumber (some would say
dumbing happens by default unless leaders are proactive about learning) :

"Personal Mastery" which is about individual motivation and focus;

Three levels, namely "Mental Models, Shared Vision and Team
Learning" which progressively show how intricate teamworking
intelligence
needs to be to win the most organisational advantage,

And the Fifth Discipline : "System Archetypes".

If people in your organisation are not aware of systems archetypes, everyday decision-making is more likely to be vicious than virtuous. The company or society that recognises - and therefore knows how to avoid being tripped up by - these archetypes is likely to be an unbeatable competitor. Looked at another
way select such an organisation as a most valuable partner provided your
organisation can keep up with such systematic intelligence.

Senge is one of the favourite works of our virtual network Organising Creativity. For further details, do contact me. Chris Macrae, editor of Brand Chartering Handbook and MELNET
[...] E-mail me at wcbn007@easynet.co.uk
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am 13. September 1997
PROBING QUESTIONS :
What is the difference between "TheFifth Discipline" and other management books?

Why most popular Management fads cannot create enduring change?

FOCUS:
Enduring change in oneself. Personal calling.
Learning Individual & Learning Organisation

OBSERVATIONS:
There is a variety of reaction and acceptance of different management approaches from consultants or management guru.

Investment in new management approach generally due to a) good or new ideas b) logical recipe-like program / activities for easy implementation.

Management commitment to new approach is expressed as resources and investment rendered.

There are two distinct "dis-connects" in above so called "committed" approach. a) "Dis-connect" from Current Reality or
Actual Business Practices with objective and statistical evidence,
b) "Dis-connect" from one owns' belief, core-value of the policy, decision makers or change agents.

WHAT CAUSES :
The psychology and good feeling in doing something tangible (like following a recipe-like program) and getting some quick fixes
fit well with fire-fight (action - reaction) instinct of most human nature.

Deep probing into Actual Business Practices with objective and statistical evidence only exposes more weaknesses of policy and decision makers.

THE DIFFERENCE:
Most enduring change to really satisfy a worthy goal of an entity does not come about by performing activities, program or system implementation, but deep soul searching on the part of the policy and decision makers on their own belief, core-values, principles, knowledge, techniques and skills.

Since "The Fifth Discipline" does not offer quick fix or recipe-like program, it is not the most popular management approach to practice the said disciplines based on theories. But for persons who are ready for personal transformation to take place, e.g. in reshaping their own mental model, vision etc. (not introducing or organising program for organisation), the much researched theories
and disciplines as per "The Fifth Discipline" can be a powerful guide for enduring change to take place in the said persons and simultaneously in the organisation.

There must be a shift of focus from "activities / program that expects others to perform" TO "personal transformation through own
PRACTICES".
For additional info please visit [...]
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am 28. Januar 1999
Thinking about how one thing affects another either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. For most people it is the latter. For these people, The Fifth Discipline is a wonderful gift. Our emotions tell us to do one thing, and that one thing is usually not in our own best interest. I had heard clients of mine talk about the beer game, and I was delighted to see it described in this book. For the average reader, this book will make you expert enough in systems thinking to be much more successful with your decisions. If you feel that you would like more help in this area, please read The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. It is a very helpful companion book that will give you practical advice for implementing what you learn in this book. If you have colleagues or friends who often make decisions that do not turn out well, it may be because they do not understand how to think about business as a system. Give them this book, and you will have done the person a great favor. Follow-up by discussing what they have learned, and help them with an exercise or two from the Fieldbook. You'll be glad you did.
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