Charles Handy

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Charles and Elizabeth Handy in 2007

Charles Handy (born 25 July 1932) is an Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the "portfolio worker" and the "Shamrock Organization" (in which professional core workers, freelance workers and part-time/temporary routine workers each form one leaf of the "Shamrock").


  • "Most of us prefer to walk backward into the future, a posture that may be uncomfortable but which at least allows us to keep on looking at familiar things as long as we can."
    • "Revisiting the Concept of the Corporation"
  • "To learn anything other than the stuff you find in books, you need to be able to experiment, to make mistakes, to accept feedback, and to try again. It doesn't matter whether you are learning to ride a bike or starting a new career, the cycle of experiment, feedback, and new experiment is always there. But you won't risk mistakes if you think you will be punished. You have to be sure of forgiveness if it is a genuine mistake. You won't accept criticism or negative feedback either, unless you are sure it comes from someone you respect, someone that you know has your interests at heart."
    • "The Hungry Spirit"


  • The first step is to measure whatever can easily be measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.

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