Friday, September 5, 2008

Fifth Discipline and Mental Models

I have just attended a course "Learning Organisation - Harnessing the Power of Mental Model" and am swept away by the course facilitator, Dr Jacob Lee.

I have actually been reading and attending some seminars on my own on this topic of Fifth Discipline (more than 5 years ago!) and Mental Models (recently). However, I was not very sure of my own value system. I knew that it was to be a personal journey but somehow, I always seemed to hit a roadblock - There were so many questions that I wanted to ask when I was going through the worksheets on my own but there was no one. So I took the opportunity in this course to ask as many questions as possible with the objective to uncover the inner me. At the end of the course, I gained a more intimate understanding of myself as a person. In the past, there were times where I wasn't very sure if I had made the right decision and I was wondering "was I going nuts or what?". Not anymore, now I understand why I made these decisions and my dilemma - because my value system has changed from what it used to me - installed and drilled into me since young based on societal norms.

No, he is not one of those "ra ra" type speaker who will motivate you based on one-in-a-million excellent example. What strikes me is that he is very helpful and effective in helping me uncover my value system. During the course, someone commented that he was surprised that there were people so different from him. The case in point was that while he valued "freedom", there was another who valued a very contradicting "predictability".

Course Description

There are two key parts. Part I is on Mental Models (MMs) - we see the world in our own rose-tinted glasses. That's how our brain protects us otherwise we will go mad with the millions or even billions of information flying around. So our brain filters information and also fills in the blank. Nothing wrong with this except that sometimes MM could be flawed. By changing our MM, we could change the way we work. The course covers ways to identify MM, challenge the MM and how to change the MM.

Part II is on Value System. Each of us have our own value system and the reason why we behave in certain ways is because our values are different. Our value system is shaped by our past experiences and environment. It could change due to changes in our life and crisis - eg. after the 9/11 incident, those who experienced close-death, changed their value system. However, we should not wait til a crisis to strike to change our value system - 'cos we may not recover from the crisis. And of course, the course also covers ways to change our value system - 1. Rearranging external circumstance (that's why some people quit their job); 2. Reframe the meaning of values (eg. to "achievement" could use to mean "moving ahead of my peers in the organisation", now, it is "to make myself valuable not just to the organisation but also to other organisations" or "to be nimble".); 3. Reorder the values.

Highly recommended course but to reap the most benefits, you have to go in with the aim to uncover yourself.

No comments: