How do you lead people to a shared sense of now?

The S-CURVES PRIME has played a useful role in getting people to a shared perspective.4 Specifically, it is a quick and effective way to get two or more people to a shared response to the questions “Do we need to change?” and “If we do need to change, how fast?”

I learned about this PRIME when I was supporting a large globalization project at Arthur Andersen back in the early 1990s. Charles Handy, then-visiting professor of the London Business School, illustrated the S-CURVE in a story and went on to apply the concept to Arthur Andersen.

An Irishman, a Story by Charles Handy

The story takes place around Dublin in an area having no signposts. Handy was lost in the hills behind Dublin and asked for directions. An old Irishman told him to follow the road to Dave's Bar. When he got there, well then, the road he wanted would be a quarter of a mile back and up to the right.

The S-CURVE is the story of every product, organization, relationship, and system. It is the story of history, of the Roman Empire, the American Empire, and of life itself. Just like these curves, every system has a time of “figuring it out,” a period of growth, and then an inevitable collapse if no change is made. But there is hope: you can build a second curve before the first one goes down. However, you have to get the new curve started before the ...

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