A paradigm is a framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking, and methodologies that are commonly accepted and shared by members of any discipline or group.  As such paradigms determine how we interpret life. Here are some of the factors you will need to be aware of when you attempt any kind of significant change.

  • Every successful organization will, over time, uncover problems it cannot solve.
  • The mistake many leaders make is to assume that the present way of doing things will, in time, find solutions to all the problems. In other words, keep doing what we’ve been done and magically we will get a different outcome.
  • Every organization has within it the clues that point toward solutions to the problem.  All one has to do is look at the problem through a different set of lenses. The solution to all our present problems is for the leadership to change the way they address the problem. This is called a paradigm shift.
  • Leaders who assume that all they have to do is work harder and do better at what they’ve been doing will cause their church to decline faster.
  • Because new paradigms require leaders to take risks, many are tempted to ignore the obvious and pretend everything is fine. 
  • Making this paradigm shift is a matter of faith, not rational thinking, so the people who make this shift are often considered to be mavericks or out of step.
  • Bureaucracies do not tolerate people who are “out of step” very well. They tolerate them only if things get bad enough.
  • One of the keys to solving problems is looking to mavericks to show the way.
  • Finally, intuition trumps strategy every time. Intuition is the most important trait of a leader during a time of paradigm shift. And we are certainly in the midst of one of the greatest paradigm shifts in the last 1,000 years.

Question: How have you approached paradigm shifts in the past? Has it worked? How do you think you might change your approach? Share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in the Comments section below.