The Fifth Discipline

Completion Date: Saturday, November 28th, 2020
Goodreads Challenge: Book #59 of 2020 

Another book that I likely would not have picked up on my own, but was “forced” to read as part of a grad school class. With this one, much like the other book for this class (Organization Theory and Behavior), I really gleaned a lot from the writings. Senge spends a lot of time unpacking what it means to be a Learning Organization and walks leaders through what it takes to break down mental models and see their team and organization in fresh ways.

A shared vision is not an idea. It is not even an important idea such as freedom. It is, rather, a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power. It may be inspired by an idea, but once it goes further –if it is compelling enough to acquire the support of more than one person–then it is no longer an abstraction. It is palpable. People begin to see it as if it exists. Few, if any, forces in human affairs are as powerful as shared vision. – Senge, page 192

I was sold on this book when I got to Chapter 2 “Does your organization have a learning disability?” Ummmm…yes.

Every organization I’ve worked for has had this problem. The problem of communication silos. Enemies from within (us vs. them). A fixation on some event that happened in the past and how things “used to be”. Turf wars. Myths of the management teams. And for me…the dysfunction that I personally carry to often is that “I am the organization”. I lose myself easily in work and in corporate/company identity. I’d like to pretend I’ve done better in recent years, but I haven’t. And it is detrimental to my own goals and dreams…and according to Senge, also a dysfunction of the organization.

Very grateful for this book and it’s lessons…both personal and professional. I’m better for it.

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