Any organization resembles a living organism that requires various parts to function well individually and in concert. Senge’s (2006) eleven laws described in the chapter “The laws of the fifth discipline” of his book can help understand the nuances of relations in an institution. When I did my summer internship at a biotechnology startup in Cleveland, I could relate all eleven points from this chapter to my experience with that company. The two laws that I will concentrate on in this essay are the first and last items. The former states that today’s situation always results from previous decisions. The latter highlights the importance of eliminating the mindset of blaming others for one’s problems but instead encourages one to take responsibility and benefit from any circumstance. The success of one’s work depends on previous performance and the ability to accept any external events; hence, planned and disciplined actions are needed to prevent the adverse impact of these laws on the organization.
The first law in this chapter may sound cliché because many people know that their current or past actions will influence the future. Still, despite being platitudes, it can be observed in any organization. I could experience it daily during my summer internship at that biotechnology firm. For example, if I did not review the literature on time, it would accumulate, requiring me to spend my weekends reading all articles. Furthermore, if the team I worked with did not clean the lab on time, the clutter and dirt would amass, so our experiments suffered from contamination.
Since I hope to work with this company again after graduation, I considered three possible ways to prevent this law from impacting this organization. Firstly, since nearly all employees should have updated knowledge about the new trends in the industry, I would create one day per week when workers will have an opportunity to read and study. Secondly, I recommend hiring several technicians who will be only responsible for cleaning laboratories and preparing materials. Thirdly, it is essential to explain to group leaders that monitoring the completion of tasks is vital because moving unresolved issues from one team to another is inefficient.
The last law in the chapter states that no one should blame others for their failures. Although this point was less prominent during my internship, I could observe cases when individuals could not succeed because they continued making the same mistake and condemned external forces for the negative outcome. Specifically, two senior employees, who were intelligent and experienced, could not complete and publish their articles in the scientific journal. They claimed that it was because of an increased workload and pressure from the leadership. Although they might have legitimate arguments, they still could take responsibility and overcome that obstacle.
To prevent this law from influencing the company in the future, I would suggest three actions. First, leadership training sessions for all workers should be introduced to implant the new mindset of taking power over any situation (Senge, 2006). Second, the employees will be required to read specific books and watch motivational movies to maintain this spirit of ownership of their destiny. Lastly, the company leaders must set a personal example of not blaming the circumstances but learning to take advantage of them.
In summary, the organization is a giant organism that exists due to different forces, positive and negative, influencing each other. Eleven laws described in Senge’s textbook accurately describe the situations that frequently happen in companies. The two points from this chapter that I focused on were, first and last, the dependence of present outcomes on past decisions and taking responsibility instead of blaming, respectively. Overall, the specific situations that I could observe helped me suggest actions that may be taken to prevent these laws from influencing this organization.
Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Broadway Business.