Search Results for: DISC
Who shares in your vision? How reflective of your organization’s current culture is your vision? Are your frontline team members, that have the most amount of contact with your citizens, clients, or customers, engaged and enthusiastic about your vision? With 67% of people reporting to Gallup they are disengaged at work, and competition for time and people’s attention at an all time high, starting with why they want to work for your organization could be a good place to begin.
As we further explore Peter Senge’s, The Fifth Discipline of a Learning Organization, which outlines the 5 disciplines are personal mastery, mental models, building shared visions, team learning and systems thinking you may want to take a short-cut to learning the principles by trying this 15-minute summary version of the book.
Next up, shared vision and team learning – what they mean and how you can apply them to your team and organization.
- Shared Vision is building a sense of commitment in a group, by developing shared images of the future we seek to create, and the principles and guiding practices by which we hope to get there.
What stood out to me, and maybe it did to you as well, was the use of “we” and “shared” and “in a group”. Who is your “we”? Most organizations create a vision when their executive leaders go on a retreat or one person, the founder, perhaps, develops it and shares it with everyone who works there. Many times, a vision is created and for years it is placed on the website and framed in their lobby. Peter Senge has a different way of approaching an organization’s vision.
Senge encourages organizations to share the vision, discuss it, modify it as you obtain new information and your organization changes and grows. Let your vision grow with it. Suppress ego, he says, and give credence and lend an ear to everyone’s idea, however, each idea should contribute towards establishing an all encompassing shared vision. It’s about working together, towards a common goal that everyone in your organization believes in. Conflict and failure occur when there are disparate visions or a lack of one at all.
“More people actively sharing in the vision not only bolsters their self esteem and sense of worth, it also makes full use of everyone’s personal strengths, thus enhancing the strength of the collective as a whole. If people feel left out, resentment may fester.” He also teaches that it must be kept in check with the measurement being whether it is at odds with what is realistically achievable.
Asking these questions, regularly, can help. What are we endeavoring to create? What is our ideology? Does our vision align with our ideals? Do team members feel like they are a part of our vision?
- Transforming conversational and collective thinking skills, so that groups of people can reliably develop intelligence and ability greater than the sum of individual members’ talents.
There it is again, things like “collective”, “groups of people”, “greater than the sum of individual members”. There’s a pattern to the most successful, innovative companies out there right now. They learn things together. Yes, they constantly improve their own skills and use a team effort to synthesize collectively to create a combined power. They collaborate to point the organization into one, clear, direction.
In order to seek team learning you’ll want to focus on:
- Shared skills
- Coordinated action
- Developing and nurturing interaction
- Defining one single, clear goal
- Promoting and refining communication
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Do you have platforms available to team members for open debate? Debating a point can lead to learning different perspectives and makes the decision-making process more informed.
Do you promote conflict? Yes, people are going to have to learn to have authentic communication in order to create greatness. People holding things back and not saying what they really think only further embeds silos which lead to lower productivity and performance. Here’s a past article about spotting the elephant in the room that might help.
Do you have learning platforms? When is the last time that your team go away from the office to experience something new and different in order to bond and build trust?
As I begin my learning adventure with a new, collaborative partner we are working with at Cortex, Axialent, I’ll be writing articles that focus on the main principles and practices that have helped their clients, like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, and so many others, reach high profitability and innovation levels and low disengagement scores.
Tough, thoughtful, questions produce the best answers. Are you asking yourself and your team enough of them? As a leader, what are the best questions to ask and when? In Peter Senge’s timeless work, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of a Learning Organization, leaders learn which disciplines they need to develop to be prepared to ask the right questions, at the right times, to the appropriate people.
The foundation of his work is based on creating a learning organization and the fundamentals that need to be in place to do that. “Learning disabilities, “ Senge states, “are tragic in children, but they are fatal in organizations. Because of them, few organizations live even half as long as a person – most die before they reach the age of forty.” In fact, according to the SBA only a third of small businesses survive past their 10th birthday. I am curious about the survival rate on entrepreneurial-type initiatives within existing organizations. Probably pretty dismal.
To reduce the chance of the same problems occurring over and over again, learning organizations look at the underlying causes of the problem and then present a solution. The leaders think in terms of creating thinking space and time between noticing a problem and developing a lasting solution. They look existing at systems and mindsets that might be causing the problem. They reframe from the blame game towards team members and instead analysis the problem from start to finish in order to better understand what may be the root cause.
What are the 5 disciplines Senge focuses on?
- Personal Mastery – Mastering one’s focus, energy and patience can go some way to creating a well-rounded individual of great worth to any organization.
- Mental Models – Understanding the role our ingrained mentality and prejudiced perceptions play in our decision making.
- Building Shared Visions – A team-shared vision for the future is more beneficial to a company than a few disparate visions promoted by self-obsessed employees.
- Team Learning – Teamwork that brings together combined knowledge and expertise creates a fulfilling, powerful collective.
- Systems Thinking – ‘Systems thinking’ encourages businesses to look at the bigger picture, thereby providing sustainable long-term, as opposed to, short-term solutions to inherent problems.
What are some typical problems organizations face when converting to a culture of learning?
- Internal politics
- Exclusive power
- Lack of time for learning
- Difficulty in maintaining a good work/ life balance
Learning organizations, Senge teaches, are active and forward thinking. They are dynamic with an emphasis on team-work and shared learning. They are productive because they build teams and solutions based on one another’s strengths. Innovation is a cornerstone of learning organizations as they focus on genuinely effective improvements. They share their knowledge, and utilize constant communication to drive productive solutions.
For this week, contemplate the following questions to get started:
- How much thinking time do you leave open on your calendar to consider your highest level organizational challenges?
- Who do you use as a thinking pair for those challenges? What might prevent them from speaking the truth to you?
- Are your personal and professional “board of directors” always the same or do you invite different minds in for different challenges and to gain a completely different perspective in order to uncover assumptions and existing mind models?
- What reoccurring problem are you, your team, or organization facing that you have yet to find a permanent, viable, productive, solution for?
In the coming weeks, we’ll break down each of the 5 disciplines to help you learn and apply them to yourself, your team, and organization.
I’m frequently asked what books I would recommend to a leader. This one is foundational. In reading it you can easily see how so many other leadership works and models were built after having studying this one. This work is high-level and designed for the deep thinking leader who has complex problems to solve, although anyone can gain an understanding of their thinking that will transform the way they approach the challenges facing us all.