Throw Your Life a Curve – HBR

Recommended read.   I loved this article.   As you know, I enjoy studies of “why we do what we do” and “why we are who we are”   🙂   There is a bit of an amusing note here  …..  I pride myself on being able to frequently determine motivations and like behavior mechanisms in others  —  but then at the same time, and here is the amusing part, I will also occasionally totally miss the obvious that everyone else immediately hears or recognizes while I am delving deeper into the whys.   Leadership, management and communications

Excerpt:  Our view of the world is powered by personal algorithms: observing how all of the component pieces (and people) that make up our personal social system interact, and looking for patterns to predict what will happen next. When systems behave linearly and react immediately, we tend to be fairly accurate with our forecasts. This is why toddlers love discovering light switches: cause and effect are immediate. The child flips the switch, and on goes the light. But our predictive power plummets when there is a time delay or non-linearity, as in the case of a CEO who delivers better-than-expected earnings only to wonder at a drop in the stock price.

Enter my co-author, MIT-trained strategist and engineer Juan Carlos Méndez-García, who consults with both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. According to Méndez-García, one of the best models for making sense of a non-linear world is the S-curve, the model we have used to understand the diffusion of disruptive innovations, and which he and I speculate can be used to understand personal disruption — the necessary pivots in our own career paths.

In complex systems like a business (or a brain), cause and effect may not always be as clear as the relationship between the light switch and the light bulb.

Read full article via Throw Your Life a Curve – Whitney Johnson – Harvard Business Review.

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