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The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook

Peter M. Senge, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts, Richard B. Ross, Bryan J. Smith

Copyright: ©1994
Publishers: Doubleday, New York, N.Y.
Book Review by: Cathy Bernatt

The Fifth Discipline

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
is the second book written by Peter Senge and his team about how to create Learning Organizations. The first book The Fifth Discipline explains the Five Disciplines, (Systems Thinking, Mental Models, Shared Vision, Personal Mastery and Team Learning) in detail. Many business leaders wrote to Peter Senge after reading The Fifth Discipline, excited by what they read but had one central question: What could we do on Monday morning to bring the Five Disciplines alive. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook is the answer to that question. It is a bible on how to bring to life the Five Disciplines; it is full of rich exercises, resources and articles by many experts in the field of organizational development, leadership training, systems thinking and more. Below is a summary of one of the exercises in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook on how to facilitate skillful discussions. I would recommend that anybody wanting to create a learning organization read and apply the exercises in this book.


1. Pay attention to your intentions
2. Balance advocacy with inquiry
3. Build shared meaning
4. Use self-awareness as a learning tool
       a. What am I thinking?
       b. What am I feeling?
       c. What do I want at this moment?
         "when you say such and such, I find myself disagreeing...
5. Explore impasses
       a. What do we agree on and what do we disagree on?
              i. Clarify assumptions
6. Make openness and trust the rules
7. Must be ground-rule that people won't have their remarks used against them
8. Encourage and reward injection of new perspectives

Learn to still the voice within
Imagine the other's viewpoint
Imagine yourself in the other's shoes-her values, wearing her clothes
Look, act and be interested
Don't read your mail, doodle
Observe non-verbal communication to glean meanings
Don't interrupt
Note figures of speech
Look for omissions
Speak only affirmatively while listening
Resist evaluative comments
To ensure understanding, rephrase what others have told you to assure

Take a vow of silence every once and a while.

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