24 June 2023

Taking the longer view

I don’t normally write about books until I have finished them but I wanted to raise an interesting concept in The Long View: Why We Need to Transform How the World Sees Time by Richard Fisher.

I’m only about a quarter of the way through and he has raised the notion of the Buxton Index.1 This is defined as the length of time (in years) over which the entity, be it a company, other institution, or individual makes their plans.

So a politician may be thinking over a 5-year electoral cycle but corporations who report quarterly may be very focused on short-term results. Some of the commentary on the Buxton Index is about recognising it as a potential source of tension between organisations — when the Buxton Index is significantly different it could result in disputes and disharmony. There is an argument, that Fisher is in the process of developing, that we are now far too short term in our thinking.

It has made me consider a little on how short-term/long-term the organisations I know and work with are in their thinking. It’s worth some reflection.

  1. There is, unusually, no Wikipedia entry for the Buxton Index.↩︎


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