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The Dance of Change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in a learning organization (The Fifth Discipline)

Peter M. Senge; George Roth

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9780385493222: The Dance of Change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in a learning organization (The Fifth Discipline)

Since Peter Senge published his groundbreaking book The Fifth Discipline, he and his associates have frequently been asked by the business community: "How do we go beyond the first steps of corporate change? How do we sustain momentum?" They know that companies and organizations cannot thrive today without learning to adapt their attitudes and practices. But companies that establish change initiatives discover, after initial success, that even the most promising efforts to transform or revitalize organizations—despite interest, resources, and compelling business results—can fail to sustain themselves over time. That's because organizations have complex, well-developed immune systems, aimed at preserving the status quo.

Now, drawing upon new theories about leadership and the long-term success of change initiatives, and based upon twenty-five years
of experience building learning organizations, the authors of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook show how to accelerate success and avoid the obstacles that can stall momentum. The Dance of Change, written for managers and executives at every level of an organization, reveals how business leaders can work together to anticipate the challenges that profound change will ultimately force the organization to face. Then, in a down-to-earth and compellingly clear format, readers will learn how to build the personal and organizational capabilities needed to meet those challenges.

These challenges are not imposed from the outside; they are the product of assumptions and practices that people take for granted—an inherent, natural part of the processes of change. And they can stop innovation cold, unless managers at all levels learn to anticipate them and recognize the hidden rewards in each challenge, and the potential to spur further growth. Within the frequently encountered challenge of "Not Enough Time," for example—the lack of control over time available for innovation and learning initiatives—lies a valuable opportunity to reframe the way people organize their workplaces.

This book identifies universal challenges that organizations ultimately find themselves confronting, including the challenge of "Fear and Anxiety"; the need to diffuse learning across organizational boundaries; the ways in which assumptions built in to corporate measurement systems can handcuff learning initiatives; and the almost unavoidable misunderstandings between "true believers" and nonbelievers in a company.

Filled with individual and team exercises, in-depth accounts of sustaining learning initiatives by managers and leaders in the field, and well-tested practical advice, The Dance of Change provides an insider's perspective on implementing learning and change initiatives at such corporations as British Petroleum, Chrysler, Dupont, Ford, General Electric, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi Electric, Royal DutchShell, Shell Oil Company, Toyota, the United States Army, and Xerox. It offers crucial advice for line-level managers, executive leaders, internal networkers, educators, and others who are struggling to put change initiatives into practice.

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Review:

Since its release in 1990, Peter M. Senge's bestselling The Fifth Discipline has converted readers to its innovative business principles of the "learning organization," personal mastery, and systems thinking. Published nearly a decade later, Dance of Change provides a formidable response to businesspeople wondering how to make his programs stick. He outlines potential obstacles (such as initiating transformation, personal fear and anxiety, and measuring the unmeasurable) and proposes ways to turn these obstacles into sources of improvement. Senge--with considerable help from the team who worked on the follow-up development manual, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook--presents an insider's account of long-term maintenance efforts at General Electric, Harley-Davidson, the U.S. Army, and others who are learning organization, along with experience-based suggestions and exercises for individuals and teams. "We are seeking to understand how people nurture the reinforcing growth processes that naturally enable an organization to evolve and change," Senge explains, "and how they tend to the limiting processes that can impede or stop that growth." --Howard Rothman

From the Back Cover:

Advance Acclaim for The Dance of Change:

"Do not read this book from cover to cover. Just dip in anywhere; you'll be surprised and challenged. This is an original and refreshing take on organizational change--on every page an idea stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about the subject."
--Warren Bennis, professor, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, and coauthor of Co-Leaders

"The Dance of Change is an extraordinary book. Dancing with Peter Senge and company inspires us to learn new steps and gain new insights. The format and presentation of this provocative and accessible guide to change are as dazzling as its content."
--Frances Hesselbein, Chairman, Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

Critical Acclaim for The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook:

"If you believe, as I do, that people are the only long-term competitive advantage and lifelong learning is the way to fully develop that advantage, you must read this book. It's about the real work, the work of implementation!"
--Richard F. Teerlink, President and CEO, Harley Davidson, Inc.

"Senge's message of growth and prosperity holds strong appeal for today's business leaders."
--Fortune

"Peter Senge's advocacy of the learning organization helped begin a revolution in the workplace. And, the relevance of Senge's work is growing rather than diminishing over time. As more businesses go global, the need to overcome psychological barriers to necessary organizational change increases."
--Management Today

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