From the day I started, I keep coming back to two things. First: the Sigmoid Curve. The Sigmoid Curve is a standard life cycle curve—of plants and animals, companies, civilizations. A baby is born point A. Immediately it struggles—for oxygen, against the light—and dips down, bottoming out within a few seconds at point B.
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Published by matt on 11th August Below is a review that I wrote of this book, with some thoughts for leadership coaches added at the end.
He reminds us that the average life of a business has reduced from 40 years to 14 years as a symptom of the speeding up of change cycles and the consequent need to keep reinventing ourselves, individually and collectively. This metaphor also explains why most business books about the success stories of great businesses or leaders are already past their sell-by date by the time they are published although of course we can still enjoy the stories.
Handy is seeking to help us grasp the principle of second curve thinking and encourages us to apply it to a whole range of issues, including; the way that technology and data is changing work; our assumptions about markets, growth and capitalism; the shape and size of our organisations and the way they work for people; innovation, education and investment in the future; and the very nature of democracy and the kind of society we want to live in.
Handy illustrates this with the increasingly common scene of people gathered together e. The underlying message here is that we need to take more responsibility for ourselves and our destinies, and adapt and evolve to become more complete human beings. This means developing and harnessing all our psychological capacities or core intelligences — not just cognitive brilliance but our emotional, social and ethical intelligence too.
Handy suggest that our educational system needs to help develop people who can be creative and innovative problem solvers, able to respond to new work horizons and take effective action in the world because all the old jobs will be going to robots.
This has significant implications for our learning technologies in the workplace environment — people need to stay on top of the current curve and prepare themselves for the next one. Several of his articles address the changing nature of work and organisations. But for more and more people our laptops or tablets or phones are already our offices and physical location is becoming secondary factor. In The New Management Handy goes further in describing what the second curve might look like in terms of the shape and size of organisations.
In a doughnut culture people are judged on results, not on their methods, on effectiveness rather than efficiency. Efficiency should be the servant, not the master.
The new technologies can work both ways. Technology can be used…to eliminate discretion and control, or… it can facilitate individual initiative. Robin Dunbar of Oxford University came up with a number. After examining studies of village communities and army units going back over time Dunbar suggested that one individual can only keep track of around people at any one time.
More recent evidence from Facebook communities supports this number, which I would suggest, provide the maximum size for a doughnut project team or business unit. How do you see your relationship with work changing over your career?
Are you full time employed now and do you see this continuing for ever, or can you imagine yourself as a self-employed contractor, specialist or portfolio worker?
How do you want to engage in continuous or periodic learning and development to keep increasing your value to organisations as you make career shifts? What does your ideal place of work look like, e. What does the type of organisation you want to work in look like? We need to think about these questions because the world of work is changing faster than we realise.
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Management Models: The Sigmoid Curve
Think your friends would be interested? Let them know about Manage Train Learn. In Western culture, life is seen as a long line starting on the left and going to the right. We see things in terms of separate chunks of beginnings and ends: ages, jobs, relationships, projects, tasks, even life itself.
The Sigmoid Curve, Pabst Blue Ribbon and change
Charles Handy’s second curve and how organisations are evolving