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Notes from the Fifth Discipline

If everyone is continually putting out fires, there’s no time to analyse things.

1 - Promote Personal Mastery

Being committed to learning and growing. Leads to a deep sense of fulfillment and keeps motivated and excited.

Work motivates when it challenges to grow. Connected with identifying our purpose and vision.

For leaders: Model this approach. Genuine curiosity is contagious.

Linking to [[The Big Five for Life]].

2 - Examine Mental Models

We’re blinded by limiting (often unconscious) beliefs.

Made up of:

  • Judgements
  • Assumptions
  • Life experience

By identifying own mental models one can become more open-minded and learns how to question own thinking.

Linking to: Notes from the Power of Mental models

3 - Team Learning

Happens when employees enter a real dialogue with each other. With critique, probing questions and examination for own biases and assumptions.

Teams develop a combined intelligence.

Assumption Testing is a great way to enable team learning [[MOC Assumption Testing]] .

MOC Teams

4 - Shared Vision

Gives energy to a learning organisation. Keeps people working and experimenting, also through disappointments and short-term failure.

Make it relevant to every employee.

Teams have a sense of ownership over what they do and how/what they contribute to the company.

5 - System Thinking

Systems thinking teaches you to analyse problems holistically. Cause and effect are often circular and influence each other in cyclical feedback loops 1.

Understand underlying processes that are at play in organisations.


Role of leaders

Combine the skills of being:

  • a designer - to design a learning environment
  • a teacher - to lead by examples and teach others
  • a steward - to protect and preserve things that are truly important


  1. One can visualise systems using Causal Loop Diagram 

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