The Fifth Discipline

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The Fifth Discipline Peter M Senge Publisher: Currency Doubleday – 1990 Introduction The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be those that discover how to tap people’s commitment and develop the capacity to learn at all levels in an organization. Deep down, people are learners. No one has to teach an infant to learn. In fact, no one has to teach infants anything. They are intrinsically inquisitive, masterful learners. Learning organizations are possible because at heart we all love to learn. Through learning we re-create ourselves and are able to do something we were never able to do earlier. Through learning we reperceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be…show more content…
Moreover, when results are disappointing, we tend to find someone or something outside ourselves to blame when things go wrong. All too often, “proactiveness” is reactiveness in disguise. True proactiveness comes from seeing how we contribute to our own problems. Actions in organizations are dominated by concern with events: last month’s sales, the new budget cuts, the last quarter’s earnings, who just got promoted or fired, the new product our competitors just announced, the delay in launching a new product, and so on. Our fixation on events is actually part of our evolutionary programming. The irony is that today the primary threats to our survival, both of our organizations and of our societies, come not from sudden events but from slow, gradual processes. The arms race, environmental decay, the erosion of our society’s public education system, increasingly obsolete physical capital, and decline in design or product quality are all slow, gradual processes. Learning to see slow, gradual processes requires slowing down our frenetic pace and paying attention to the subtle as well as the dramatic. We learn best from experience but we never directly experience the consequences of many of our most important decisions. The most critical decisions made in organizations have systemwide consequences that stretch over years or decades. Systems thinking Systems thinking is the fifth discipline. It is the conceptual cornerstone that underlies
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