The learning organization..

The Learning Organization

“To understand systems is to understand how it is that the problems that are the most difficult and intransigent that we all deal with come about. And, obviously, to get a perspective on those problems that gives us some leverage and some insight as to what we might do differently. 
When you ask what does it take in a business context for people to start to discern non-obvious areas of leverage. The answer is a very deep and persistent commitment to real learning. 
And, there’s a couple features to this kind of deep commitment to learning. One is I have to be prepared to be wrong. Again, if it was pretty obvious what needed to be done, we would already be doing it. 
So, I am part of the problem, almost for sure. My own way of seeing things and my own sense of where there’s leverage is probably part of the problem. 
This is the domain we’ve always called mental models. If I’m not prepared to challenge my own mental models then I can go to finding non-obvious areas of high leverage is very low. 
You need to really triangulate. You need to get different people, from different points of view, who are seeing different parts of the system, to come together and, collectively, start to see something that, individually, none of them see.
Intelligence is always about systems. It’s one of the reasons we don’t really even need terms like systems thinking. You could say, well, show me an example of where people have acted really intelligently, and, almost always the examples will have to do with balancing the short-term and the long-term. 
They will have to do with some ability to forego short-term benefits in the sake of investing in something in the long-term. They’re not just about opportunism and getting the most we can in the shortest period of time. Almost never will people give examples like that. 
I was part of a team, and there was real collective intelligence in that team. That’s the other thing to me that’s very important about the notion of intelligence, [that people] are smart in the social context. 
We all probably spend too much time thinking about smart individuals. That’s one of the problems with school, you know, it’s very individualistic. Very much about the smart kid and the dumb kids. That’s not the kind of smartness we need. The smartness we need is collective
We need cities that work differently. We need, you know, industrial sectors that work differently. We need value change and supply change that are managed from the beginning to the end to produce social, ecological, and economic well-being. 
That’s the kind of intelligence we need and it will never be achieved by a handful of smart individuals. It’s not about the smartest guys in the room, it’s about what we can do collectively. So, the intelligence that matters is going to be collective intelligence, and that’s the concept of smart that I think [is most needed]”
~Peter Senge


2 comments on “The learning organization..

  1. Hello Aahang, Pleasure to read your article. You may like to check-out for similar articles with other perspectives.

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