30 Splendid Peter M. Senge Quotes

Peter M. Senge is an American systems scientist that has dedicated his life to organizational development and systems thinking. As a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, Senge is also the author of the book, ‘The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.’ Here is a look at some of the most notable Peter M. Senge quotes ever documented.

“Advocacy without inquiry begets more advocacy.”

“Breakthroughs come when people learn how to take the time to stop and examine their assumptions.”

“Business and human endeavors are systems…we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system. And wonder why our deepest problems never get solved.”

“But it does imply that the search for scapegoats—a particularly alluring pastime in individualistic cultures such as ours in the United States—is a blind alley.”

“Collaboration is vital to sustain what we call profound or really deep change, because without it, organizations are just overwhelmed by the forces of the status quo.”

“Courage is simply doing whatever is needed in pursuit of the vision.”


“Do we meet each person curious about the miracle of a human being that we are about to connect with? Or do we meet a poor person that we are about to help?”

“I believe benchmarking best practices can open people’s eyes as to what is possible, but it can also do more harm than good, leading to piecemeal copying and playing catch-up.”

“I believe that, the prevailing system of management is, at its core, dedicated to mediocrity.”

“If I learned anything … it is the notion that we need to be working on all different parts of the system in order to successfully change the whole system.”

“In the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears. In the absence of a great dream, pettiness prevails.”

“It is not the absence of defensiveness that characterizes learning teams but the way defensiveness is faced.”

“Mastery of creative tension brings out the capacity for perseverance and patience. Time is an ally.”

“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.”

“People get used to having experts who can solve their problems for them; people can then easily lose motivation to develop their own capacities.”

“People with high levels of personal mastery…cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye.”

“Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines.”

“Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist — someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.”

“The bad leader is he who the people despise; the good leader is he who the people praise; the great leader is he who the people say,”We did it ourselves.”

“The basic metaphor of prototypes still seems apt to me. There are no answers or magic pills. There is no alternative to learning through experimentation.”

“The earth is an indivisible whole, just as each of us is an indivisible whole.”

“The most effective people are those who can”hold” their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly.”

“The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”

“Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do. Through learning we reperceive the world and our relationship to it.”

“Vision is an idle dream at best and a cynical delusion at worst – but not an achievable end.”

“We will never transform the prevailing system of management without transforming our prevailing system of education. They are the same system.”

“When asked what they want, many adults will say what they want to get rid of.”

“When people who are actually creating a system start to see themselves as the source of their problems, they invariably discover a new capacity to create results they truly desire.”

“When young people develop basic leadership and collaborative learning skills, they can be a formidable force for change.”

“You cannot force commitment, what you can do…You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model. Your primary influence is the environment you create.”

Here is one look from Peter Senge as he discusses a new generation of systems thinking and how it influences the way people connect and communicate with one another.