Picture of Senge's Disciplines? LO6758

William J. Hobler, Jr. (bhobler@cpcug.org)
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 18:13:25 -0400

Replying to LO6715 --

David J. Skyrme wrote in a reply to an earlier post.

>Marianne asked about a picture of these disciplines.
>If the purpose of a picture is to help learning, then the picture itself
>will need to be related to the context, including the reader.
>Senge's work is a combination of individual attributes, but also their
>relationship to others (especially in teams).

In considering the possibility of presenting a picture of the five
disciplines I tried to categorize them. One conclusion, the veracity of
which I am not entirely confident, is that the disciplines are processes.
Within the processes we employ techniques such as the Ladder if Inference
or Archetypes. These processes produce some value to the individual and
to the organization. In other threads this list struggled with
determining the value of a LO and if I remember correctly was not able to
quantify the value satisfactorily. My purpose is not to revisit the
question of the value to a business of being a LO. Rather, I table the
following thoughts and concepts for discussion as a forerunner to
developing a 'picture' of the disciplines.

Self Mastery is a process of self examination and analysis that has as its
goal to improve a person's self image and confidence. The confidence
sought is in the value of their capability to contribute to the
organization in which they are operating. The goal is to have sufficient
confidence to allow the person to venture contribution of both intellect
and action, their thought and decision. Self mastery is a first step in
empowerment, a step the individual must make, they give themselves
permission to venture contribution. I wonder how many 'lurkers' have not
ventured to contribute here. Please rethink your capability to

Mental Models is a process of becoming aware of how people communicate (or
mis-communicate) in any setting. This is a process of becoming aware of
and sensitive to the value of other people and their capability to
contribute value to a process. We must be aware of behaviors that enhance
other people's capability and inhibit it. In some sense it too is a step
in empowerment. It is breaking down the barriers that prevent the
individual, me, from allowing others to contribute (or preventing me from
valuing the other's contribution). This is a process of becoming humble
in the realization of the breadth and depth of the human intellect.

Shared Values is a process of collaborative alignment of individual
aspirations. It is one of becoming aware that someone else aspires to the
same things, concepts, beliefs, etc. as I do. It is more than this, for
it includes a willingness, a desire to work together to realize the
aspirations. The first step in this work is to become mutually aware of
the commonly held values and of the willingness to work to achieve them.
This is the beginning of effective team work.

Team Learning is the process of becoming aware of the relationships among
all of the elements of a system, and the fact that each member has a
different concept of those relationships. Based on team members' shared
values and mental models the team is able to examine the differing
concepts and learn. The team is able to work through incorrect
assumptions and unfounded beliefs to discover a more accurate concept of
'the system.' Because an individual is prone to be blind to his or her own
assumptions and unfounded beliefs this work is best done in collaboration
with others.

Systems Thinking is the process of searching out the influences the
relationships among system elements have on system performance. It is the
process of inculcating the team with such a deep understanding of the
system and the interdependence among its elements that they are able to
optimize performance at each system element. Zuboff would call this level
of knowledge 'informatted'. It implies knowing more than the fact that
two system elements are related, it means that we know the independent
variables, dependent variables and can model the transfer function from
one to the other. Where Zuboff dealt with systems that were principally
deterministic in nature, most human populated systems are not. In fact
inclusion of human beings with our prejudices, feelings and motives makes
developing an 'informatted' organization much more difficult. More
difficult if for no other reason than that the transfer functions are
unknown or are highly variable.

If these concepts have some measure of being correct then one can extract
the outcomes of the processes and seek a systems dynamics view or one can
place the processes themselves in a process diagram similar to a value
stream. In either case the view would be from several tens of thousands
of feet -- that is -- not very much detailed insight would be available
from the drawings.

bhobler@cpcug.org ( William J. Hobler, Jr.) Bill


"William J. Hobler, Jr." <bhobler@cpcug.org>

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