The Power of a Paradigm
Quotes from the author:
“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People embody many of the fundamental principles of human effectiveness. These habits are basic; they are primary. They represent the internalization of correct principles upon which enduring happiness and success are based.
But before we can really understand these Seven Habits, we need to understand our own ‘paradigms’ and how to make a ‘paradigm shift’.
Both the Character Ethic and the Personality Ethic are examples of social paradigms. The word paradigm comes from the Greek. It was originally a scientific term, and is more commonly used today to mean a model, theory, perception, assumption, or frame of reference. In the more general sense, it’s the way we ‘see’ the world—not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding, interpreting.
For our purposes, a simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. We all know that ‘ the map is not the territory.’ A map is simply an explanation of certain aspects of the territory. That’s exactly what a paradigm is. It is a theory, an explanation, or model of something else.
Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are—or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms. When other people disagree with us we immediately think something is wrong with them. But, clearheaded people see things differently, each looking through the unique lens of experience.
The more aware we are of our basic paradigms, maps, or assumptions, and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.
Not all paradigms shifts are in positive directions. As we have observed, the shift from the Character Ethic to the Personality Ethic has drawn us away from the very roots that nourish true success and happiness.”
Strong, but accurate words from Covey when he says, “When we open our mouths…., we in effect describe ourselves”, and, also when he said, “clearheaded people see things differently, each looking through the lens of experience.”
There have been many times when I wish I had NOT opened my mouth. There have also been times when it took courage to say what I said, as when a manager/supervisor/CEO made unfounded, ridiculous, or manipulative statements. Leaders must understand that words carry little meaning, when actions don’t match.
“Leaders are like eagles; they don’t flock; you find them one at a time”
Next time “Inside-Out”, continued
The Principled Center Paradigm