A Shared Vision means all employees in a company share the same vision of where the organization needs to go (instead of a vision-statement where management has written where the organization should be going). Only when the vision is authentic and shared, employees will automatically participate in the improvement processes to get the company closer to accomplishing its vision. Senge describes a shared vision as follows: People are not playing according to the rules of the game, but feed responsible for the game.
Mental Models describe the presumptions and generalizations people have which influence their actions. The first step in having people change their Mental Models is to have people reflect on their own behavior and beliefs. One of the mental models in every organization is the official hierarchy. Personal values can overcome the shortcomings of hierarchical power. One important Value Senge describes is openness. One part of openness is to quit playing ´power games´ and be open and honest about what your real needs are.
Personal Mastery describes the strength of people to be proactive and keep on learning to continuously achieve results which are important for them. Two factors which are of importance in this discipline are: defining what is important to us (1) and being able to see the current reality as it is (2).
Team learning includes two aspects. Effective teamwork leads to results which individuals could not have achieved on their own (1) and individuals within a team learn more and faster than they would have without the team (2). The team members have to be willing to shift their mental models and be open to learn from their colleagues.
System Thinking is used to analyze patterns in an organization by looking at it from a holistic viewpoint rather than small unrelated manageable parts. Senge himself describes the elephant metaphor. When you split an elephant in two, you do not have two small elephants which you can take care of. You can only take care of the one complete elephant. An organization is like a living organism and should according to Senge also be managed as one.
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