Paradigms are ways of thinking on an issue. Most of our paradigms are in cement due to:
- the family system we grew up in,
- our other life experiences,
- the people we hang around, and
- the literature/media we take in.
And we sort of like it that way. We get to stay in a “thinking comfort zone” and not stretch our minds much. If we aren’t flexible and open, this can make us lazy thinkers and relaters.
If we have studied an issue extensively and these paradigms are grounded in truth, then a concrete conviction in that area is a good thing. It’s like a True North for us and a guide for living well. However, if we become close-minded to what could be gray–that we currently think is black or white–an immovable paradigm limits our growth. People don’t want to converse with those whose mind cannot flex to different ways of looking at things. And we might miss opportunities.
Expand your paradigms through purposeful choices to see things from others’ points of view.
- Initiate conversations with those outside your typical sphere of influence.
- Read outside of your trade.
- Watch a different type of movie.
- Surf to a different type of blog than normal.
And allow new thoughts to percolate. You may end up discarding them, or sometimes, they might change your life! It’s really the only other way to see with different eyes, and become a more well-rounded person–someone who can have greater influence in this life. And that’s what leaders do–they influence people toward a more compelling future than what they are experiencing now.
Gathering people together for strategic planning is a great way to practice your listening skills and work with new ideas–in service of your organization’s brighter future. Strong, healthy organizations take their team off-site once or twice a year to get that fresh perspective on the months ahead. Need a facilitator? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.