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What You Need to Know

Principles and Archetypes of the Fifth Discipline

Read the following in Senge's :

· Chapter 4"The Laws of the Fifth Discipline," explains the basic systems principles or “laws” that embody common sense ideas that leaders often forget to apply to most types of systems and organizations.

· Chapter 5"A Shift of Mind," describes some specific tools of systems thinking that help show that organizations are interconnected through ongoing cyclical patterns. System archetypes are a tool that reveal the dynamic complexity of leadership issues and help you locate what Senge calls “points of leverage” for making organizational improvements.

· Chapter 6, "Nature’s Templates: Identifying the Patterns That Control Events,” is about systems archetypes. Systems archetypes are patterns of events that appear over and over in organizations and in life. They help remove the “noise” in complex situations and reveal underlying structures of systems behaviors, including cause-effect relationships. Once these structures are recognized, it is easier to identify leverage points for change that avoid quick fixes. 

Systems Thinking for Social Change

This week you will begin Stroh’s seminal text, Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results. Read the following in this text:

· The Introduction, on pages 1–10, unpacks Stroh’s theory for organizational change, which is based on uncovering the discrepancy between what we want the system to achieve and the results it is currently achieving. Consider how focusing on that discrepancy is a powerful force for constructive change in organizations.

· Chapter 1"Why Good Intentions Are Not Enough," on pages 13–18, explains the dilemma of why seemingly well-intentioned policies often produce the opposite of what they are supposed to accomplish.

· Chapter 2"Systems Thinking Inside: A Catalyst for Social Change," on pages 19–28, examines the question of how to use systems thinking to help people achieve sustainable change. You’ll examine four key challenges of change, including:

. Stimulating continuous learning.

. Focusing people to work on a few key coordinated changes over time.

. Generating collaboration because people learn how they can collectively create satisfying results.

. Motivating people to change because they discover their role in causing the problems they want to solve.

· Chapter 3"Telling Systems Stories," on pages 29–43, is about how telling stories can be a powerful way for organizational leaders to identify, communicate, and move others to act toward positive change.​​

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