How many times have you bought a highly recommended book just to let it collect dust on your shelf?

One of those books for me has been “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter Senge.  This book has been and continues to be a strong proponent for creating a culture of coaching within an organization, whether it be a business, a church or mission agency.  How is that you ask?

Let me explain the five disciplines of healthy organizational life according to Senge.

  1. Personal Mastery – is the discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and seeing reality objectively.
  2. Mental Models – are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action.
  3. Shared Vision – involves the skills of unearthing shared “pictures of the future” that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance.
  4. Team Learning – starts with “dialogue,” the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine “thinking together.”
  5. Systems Thinking – integrates the disciplines, fusing them into a coherent body of theory and practice.

With these as a framework for healthy team life, contemplate how the following might enhance your team.

  • If you could help people continually see reality objectively.
  • If you could challenge team members unpack their mental models.
  • If you could engage people in a shared vision.
  • If you could foster a value for team learning.
  • If you could integrate these disciplines in a systematic way in your team…

What difference would it make?

I want to challenge you to pick-up the book.  If it is on your shelf and you have already read it, browse the titles and subtitles or take note of text you highlighted.  Now reflect on the points above and envision how the five disciplines might impact your team, organization, or ministry.



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