In organization system laws there are 11 laws of the Fifth Discipline. In this paper we will look at three laws that have been experienced within our organization or company. We will then define each law, and describe how we’ve experienced each law in our organization or company. In conclusion we will review the three laws and discuss what lessons have been learned from them.
The definition of the law “the harder you push, the harder the system pushes back” is, when we fail in our attempts to produce meaningful improvements; our initial instinct as leaders is to “push harder” believing that our hard work can overcome any and all obstacles that get in our way. In reality what we do not realize is that we are becoming blind to fact that we are directly contributing to the creation of more obstacles (Karch, K. (2008, July 10).
I have experienced this law first hand in the Navy as a leader of multiple stations and personnel. This law has happened to me many times, because I would get caught up in one stations problem’s and focus only on that station. This would cause me to neglect my other teams and by the time I put out the fires in that station, I had three more fires that had developed in my other stations due to either my neglect or a decision that I made for the first team that affected the other teams. So my tendency to charge through tough situations when things did not go the way I thought they would ended up causing me to make decisions without taking into consideration all of the different solutions that were available or take into consideration the effects that one decision would have on my team as a whole. If I would have slowed down and taken a step back I could have found better alternatives to the problem.
From this law I learned that sometimes we solve problems solely based off of our current environment and by doing this it is easy to miss the effects my decisions have on other teams and in other environments. I also learned that by not taking my whole team into consideration when making a decision can create more problems (Senge, P. M. (2013).
The definition of “Behavior grows better before it grows worse” is when a solution first cures the symptoms of a problem this can feel good and give a false sense of security. It may be some time before the problem behavior returns but given how people move from position to position, when someone new is in the leadership seat, a new or worse behavior problem can return. (Karch, K. (2008, July 10).
I have experienced this law first hand because in the Navy we transfer every three to four years depending on the job. So in your working environment there are always people leaving a position and checking into a new position on a regular basis. This is difficult because it takes time to train people on how your particular command operates. A new check in if he or she is fresh from Basic Training, at a bare minimal is always trained on the basics of a job. If they are coming in from another command they should poses more advanced skills but each command operates a little differently. So problems that you solved months before can and do resurface. To overcome this problem there is what’s called a pass down binder with the current state of things so when new leaders come in they have something to identify people, problems, and what is being done to correct them.
This law has taught me that short term solutions can produce great temporary results but fundamental issues and problems are never truly eliminated and these underlying problems if not constantly addressed and trained to can make a situation worse in the long run (Senge, P. M. (2013).
The definition of “Small changes can produce big results” is that the smallest change in an area will often have the highest leverage or impact. High leverage changes are usually not obvious to most members in a system. They are not “close in time and space” to obvious problem symptoms (Karch, K. (2008, July 10). An example of how I have experienced this law in my work would be our operations budget. The smallest increase or decrease to our budget will be made one year and the highest leverage of that change will not be realized until years later. More recently we have just undergone a new branding campaign, but the full impact of that campaign will not be obvious for a couple of years. I am the Marketing and Advertising Officer for my command. One of my duties is to generate (mail outs) letters that we generate and send to potential applicants. When we do mail outs we do not get to see the return on those for at least three months. So if a piece is doing well or poorly we will not know for three months.
The things that I have learned from this law are large changes to an organizations vision or policy seldom has an immediate effect or change on an organization. Small consistent and repetitive changes however can have a huge impact in the long run. “There are no simple rules for finding high-leverage changes, but there are ways of thinking that make it more likely” (Magalhaes, I. L. (2015, January 25).
We started with the law “the harder you push, the harder the system pushes back”. What we learned from this law is, sometimes we solve problems solely based off of our current environment and by doing this it is easy to miss the effects decisions have on other teams or parts of our environments. The second law we defined was “behavior grows better before it grows worse”. With this law we learned that short term solutions can produce great temporary results but fundamental issues and problems are never truly eliminated and underlying problems if not constantly addressed and trained to can make a situation worse in the long run. The last law we discussed was “small changes can produce big results”. The biggest take away from this law was that large changes to an organizations vision or policy rarely have an immediate effect or change on an organization. Small consistent and repetitive changes however can have a huge impact in the long run. Having experienced all of these laws at one time or another not only do I know how to identify these situations but I have a better understanding how to take action to correct them. (Senge, P. M. (2013).