“The Fifth Discipline”, Peter Senge’s best seller in 10 sentences

From his book The fifth disciplinePeter Senge revolutionized the management with the theory that organizations are capable of learning, and as such they depend on the interaction and development of the people who make them up.

Peter M. Senge was born in 1947, in the city of Stanford, graduated in Engineering from Stanford University. He did a Master’s in Social Systems Modeling at MIT. He subsequently completed his PHD in Management. He is the director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the Sloan School of Management and founder of the Society for Organizational Learning. In the 1990s as the main figure of organizational development with his book The Fifth Discipline (1990), where he develops the notion of organization as a system (from the point of view of General Systems Theory), in which he exposes a dramatic change of professional mentality.

Senge maintains that the companies that prosper over time, he proposes, are “intelligent organizations”, that is, those groups of people that align talents and capabilities to learn to succeed together and achieve the desired results, even in the face of changing scenarios.

With a systems thinking approach, Senge encourages broadening the field of observation of organizations to understand complexities and interactions. While the traditional vision of companies was that of parceled phenomena independent of each other, the systemic approach proposes thinking in wholes and making connections, looking for points of improvement or leverage that restore the balance of the system and allow it to become open to learning and self-improvement. .

Thus, organizational learning requires long-term development of both individuals and their companies.

The five disciplines that Senge proposes are:

• Personal mastery or excellence, to manage the tension between aspirations and reality and prepare to make better decisions.
• Recognition of mental models that determine our way of perceiving the world, acting and feeling, and that because they are unconscious, they are not usually reviewed.
• Generation of a shared vision that guides the action of individuals and groups towards common objectives and futures.
• Teamworkbased on communication, interaction and alignment of talents so that the results are greater than the sum of individual contributions.
• Systemic approach to be able to recognize interactions that can lead to significant and lasting improvements, that is, to look for underlying solutions to problems and not only attack the emerging ones or symptoms.

1. Courage is simply doing what it takes to achieve a vision.

2. Meaningful innovation is not achieved by talking about new ideas: prototypes must be built and tested.

3. Direct experience constitutes a powerful means of learning.

4. When they belong to the same system, people, despite their differences, tend to produce similar results.

5. We are conditioned to see life as a series of events, and we believe that for each event there is an obvious cause.

6. Throughout life, as we move from one environment to another, we encounter novelty and new challenges, small and large. If we are prepared for them, living and learning are inseparable.

7. Changing our way of thinking means continually changing our orientation.

8. Vision drives learning.

9. The primary leadership strategy is simple: be a role model.

10. The good leader is the one who people reward. The great leader is the one to whom people say “we did it.”