The concepts of organizational learning are central to taking a strategic approach to sustainability. The 'five disciplines' described in Peter Senge's seminal work The Fifth Discipline provide much of the basis for the art and practice of organizational learning:
1. Personal Mastery: "a discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively."
2. Mental Models: "deeply engrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures of imagines that influence how we understand the world and how we take action."
3. Building Shared Vision: "a practice 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' … allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individually."
5. Systems Thinking: "a conceptual framework, a body of knowledge and tools that has been developed over the past fifty years, to make the full patterns clearer, and to help us see how to change them effectively" … "the discipline that fuses the disciplines, fusing them into a coherent body of theory and practice."
(All quotations are from The Fifth Discipline. For more on the five disciplines visit SoL, the Society for Organizational Learning.