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3 Essential Skills for Organizations (SUMMARY)
Peter Senge – Author of the 5th Discipline.
What are the 3 core learning capabilities?
- Shared Purpose – Aspiration
- Ability to Reflect
- Understanding the Bigger Picture
Aspiration – Shared Purpose
Spirit of deep intention you might say or aspiration might be a better word – what do we really want to create here?
To engage in learning is hard. It is common We all learn to walk and to talk. At some point in your life you didn’t walk or talk.
At some point the learner crystalizes a vision, something they really want to be able do.
Without that the learning process doesn’t happens. That crystallization of aspiration, vision or intention is an example of what that is like if you crystallize it.
What actually are we trying to accomplish here?
That is critical!
Building the capability to foster vision personally and collectively has always been a core capability for successful organizations
Then you try things and they don’t work
The Ability to Reflect
Well we tried that… and it didn’t work -what happened? – Experimentation
It is kind of obvious
When you are learning to walk or riding a bicycle it is just you –it is a basic process of learning to do something. But learning to walk or riding a bike is more obscure it is more neuromuscular – there is a reflection process going on – it is more immediate – not at the conceptual level and not collective
In an organization setting that reflection dynamic is not just simple action but actions that are more complex and involve many people – need to be able to think together – what is going on here?
If you look at how successful software organizations – they organize all kinds of reflective processes. They have people that whose roles is to get together and collect data – usually online. They collect all kinds of data – look at data –tells you what happened but not what you need to understand. The process of observation to understanding is the process of reflection
- What did we expect to happen?
- But what did happen?
- How were we thinking that might have been off?
- How do we have to think differently to get an outcome we want?
That is the process of reflection?
In organization work setting it needs to be collective not just individual – the capacity of reflection conversation -to have different qualities of communication and conversation to allow people to expand and enhance their thinking and how to think together in complex settings.
Understanding Bigger Picture
3 sided coin – Inter-related set of capacities
To see the larger system – this has always been the problem in business – things get fragmented.
You do this – you do this and then everyone forgets what others are doing because they are focused on their piece. Their piece – literally piece work
Organizations everywhere suffer from Silos –fragmentation, chimneys, – different metaphors. That problem of not seeing how it go together – not having the skills and taking the time to step back and see how it goes together
If you do this and we do this and this, the result may not add up to what we want.
Seeing the bigger picture is an essential leadership skill
Today more than ever it is not just important within but between – so within the org – we do get fragmented
That is why working in teams is the most important development in management over the last 20 years
Now almost everyone works in teams – at least in that team people in the teams a bunch of people have to put things together and think about what they are doing and how it fits together.
Now between the teams you can still get into trouble but at least it is going in the right direction
But increasingly the systems we need to understand are not just individual organizations but networks of organizations. I have spent my last years in large scale networks – farming, agriculture and water systems- if they don’t practice all 3 capabilities – ultimately fail.
- Cultivate aspiration
- Seeing the larger system.
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