Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Systems Thinking and The Gap Between Aspirations and Performance – Peter Senge

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In the light of Organizational health, this blog post is about organizational learning and the collaboration process. In my quest for more information, I  discovered a man named Peter Senge. Senge, is famous for his work and research surrounding sytemes thinking and organizational development.

He is also a prolific author and his fifth book the The Fifth Discipline  brought him firmly into the limelight and popularized the concept of the ‘learning organization’.

In the attached longer video he discusses some concepts relating to organizational health. Some of the more pertinent ones or key take-aways I have posted below.

After reading these, I am curious if any of you have worked in organizations that have similar approaches to teamwork, and the creative process.

Key Take-aways:

Senge first principal is that organizations must focus on mobilizing creativity, inspiration, trust, imaginations, commitment and aspiration. You can only make so much change by telling people how bad things are and saying “ BE less BAD” Senge says     “the power of aspiration is much better than the power of desperation”

To take the focus off of problem solving, he suggests that healthy and strong organizations must focus on two things.

1) The Collective creative process: Mobilizing the values above.

2) Network of relationships: he called these Knowledge Networks

While these two key concepts may seem idealistic, when you look at them closely you discover that they are essential building blocks to a collaborative and strong team which in the processes is able to able effectively problem solve..

The Collective creative process is basically about focusing on the question of what are we trying to create?, rather than, what problem are we trying to solve?. Senge argues it is highly important for  individuals  team members, after working through a problem or challenge, to  make lists of people who were essential to the process. In completing this reflection process, individuals within the organization can start to build “knowledge networks”.

Hewlett Packard ( HP) started doing this with their teams and it was a huge success. Not only did it build team moral, it increased productivity and helped when mangers were going through reorganizations. The employees presented their knowledge networks to managers before reorgs. saying I need these people for this type of work… etc..,. Providing this information helped the reorganization process immensely because Mangers knew essentially where to place people most effectively.

Understanding the importance of network relationships, is essential to how we accomplish what we accomplish. Work is all about collaboration and the HP study Senge brings up illustrates that even stubble awareness of this fact makes a tremendous difference.



This entry was posted on October 29, 2014 by .
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