As Millennials increasingly assume senior leadership roles and Gen Z enters the workforce, traditional “command and control” approaches to leadership and the underlying assumptions powering those approaches are being challenged. One example can be found in our new conversations about workers’ mental health and the need for leaders to be trauma-informed.
A paradigm shift is defined as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” While people and organizations are nearly always in a state of change to some degree, it tends to be more incremental than fundamental–more mundane than transformative.
Rarely do people and organizations rethink their basic assumptions about the world. In other words, true paradigm shifts are rare.
You can visualize paradigm shifts as a process and identify how far along you are in that process in several different ways. At the organizational level, doing that requires leaders to engage in complex thinking–integrating analytical, social, emotional and in some cases spiritual dynamics through a myriad of perspectives.
Thomas Kuhn introduced the concept of paradigm shifts in his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Since then, Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory and John Kotter’s 8-step model for leading change have helped leaders and organizations to better understand paradigm shifts and how to navigate them. CHRO’s and CEO’s can apply these frameworks to:
- Spot drivers of change that may be starting to impact client/customer and employee expectations.
- Estimate where they are in the paradigm shift process by assessing the gap between current organizational mission, vision, values, policies and procedures and new thinking.
- Identify the tipping points for key trends to forecast when behavioral changes due to new thinking may manifest.
Leaders are wise to consider in advance how they will mitigate barriers to change that inevitably arise during a paradigm shift.
As younger generations of leaders inspire new ways of thinking, leading The Learn Lead Lift Way can help you leverage shifting assumptions to make a positive impact.
Beyond these theories and frameworks, how can organizations navigate paradigm shifts and support leaders with complex thinking? Consider investing in Learn Lead Lift® Coaching.
Learn Lead Lift® Coaching is designed to support leaders in organizations where self-awareness, inclusion, learning and innovation are valued in day to day decision making and interactions. Learn Lead Lift® Coaching accelerates individual and group leadership development and integration of The Learn Lead Lift Framework® in your organization. It can be offered as a stand alone supplemental benefit or integrate it into your existing leadership development program–with fewer headaches for you!