Personal Mastery is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience and seeing reality objectively. The discipline of Personal Mastery clarifies the things that really matter to us, and helps us live our lives in the service of our highest aspirations. This is the learning organizations’ spiritual foundation.
Mental Models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action. Continuous adaptation and growth in a changing business environment depend on “institutional learning” which is the process whereby management teams change their shared mental models of the company, their markets, and their competitors.
Building a Shared Vision. No organization has sustained any measure of greatness in the absence of goals, values, and missions that become deeply shared throughout an organization. “Learning organizations manage to bind people together around a common identity and a sense of destiny” The practice of a shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared pictures of the future that foster genuine commitment and enrollment, rather than compliance.
Team Learning is vital because teams, not individuals are the fundamental organizational unit in modern organizations…unless the team can learn, the organization cannot learn. When teams are truly learning, not only are the producing extraordinary results, but the individual members are also growing more rapidly than could have occurred otherwise.
Systems’ Thinking is a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that have developed over the past fifty years to make patterns clearer and to help us see how to change them effectively.
The Fifth Discipline
It is vital that the five disciplines develop as an ensemble. It is more difficult to integrate new tools than to simply apply them separately. That is why Systems Thinking is the fifth discipline. It is the discipline that integrates the disciplines, fusing them into a coherent body of theory and practice. Without a systemic orientation, there is no motivation to look at how the disciplines interrelate. By enhancing each of the other disciplines, it continually reminds us that the whole can exceed the sum of its parts.
Systems’ thinking makes understandable the subtle aspect of the learning
organization — the new ways individuals perceive themselves and their world… from seeing problems as caused by someone or something out there to see how our own actions create the problems we experience.
For additional information read: “The Fifth Discipline, The Art & Practices of the Learning Organization”, By Peter M. Senge, ISBN 0-385-26094-6. This is a break-through book no small business library should be without