Defining the Future

March 7th, 2010

Everyone has their own perspective and method of doing things. The same is true of organizations. This is known as culture. Another term to describe these beliefs, habits, and traditions is known as paradigms. Paradigms are frequently so deeply rooted and ingrained that they become barriers to a person’s ability to see new ideas and opportunities.

Joel Baker who wrote Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future states that “a paradigm is a set of rules and regulations that establishes or defines boundaries; and tells you how to behave inside the boundaries in order to be successful.” Paradigms have a tendency to guide people in their jobs and lives. They also can become barriers to change and innovation.

Paradigms provide a framework for understanding the forces that prevent people from successfully dealing with change. In reality, they make available a universal basis for discussing change. Additionally, paradigms help to explain reasons for negative reactions to new ideas. They also provide a basis for reducing the degree to which people see change as threatening.

When dealing with extensive change and turbulence, the concept of paradigms enhances your ability to become more probing and open to new ideas. You can gain thoughts on where to look for the ground-breaking changes that basically rewrite the rules of the game. Expanded insight provides for innovation and development of new ideas. Understanding your limitations opens up new solutions and approaches to problems.

People (and organizations) always tend to see the world through their paradigms. This tendency to follow old rules and regulations causes existing paradigms to filter reality. People need to be aware of the impact paradigms have on their ability to make judgments, make recommendations, and take action.

If you are struggling to find a job or start a new business then this post provides a basis to help you analyze why things are either working or not working. Take time to reflect on your paradigms so you can move beyond the boundaries and limitations that challenge you. A little time spent on this reflection might be more important than time unproductively doing things that aren’t producing results.