Review: The Fifth Discipline

4 Star, Best Practices in Management

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Theory, Misses Mark on Identifying Obstacles,

April 8, 2000
Peter M. Senge
Without a shared vision there can be no shifting of minds, no team leaning, no local initiatives consistent with the shared vision, and so on. This is all really great theory.Taking the U.S. Intelligence Community–which failed spectacularly on 9-11 after resisting change for just over a decade–as an example relevant to both business and the public, one can readily see that great theory simply does not translate into relevant action.

Most helpful would be a new edition of this book, but one that places fully half the book’s emphasis on identifying the obstacles to reform and learning, with each obstacle then addressed from both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective.

9-11 demonstrated that the theory of this book is badly needed within the ultimate “learning” community, the U.S. Intelligence Community. Even after 9-11, the leadership of that community refuses to admit it failed, and refuses to propose or acknowledge the substantial changes recommended by over 15 books–a huge critical mass–recommended by the Council on Intelligence. CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations might choose to reflect on how best to combine the lessons from this book, which are valuable, with the lessons from how a $30 billion a year tax-payer funded community can refuse to change.

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