All of us think and act within certain
boundaries, rules, and regulations that govern our reality. These
limits, called paradigms, become the glasses—the
assumptions and beliefs, the filters—through which we see the
world. The watchword for the 1990s and beyond is change. To
compete, organizations, and the people in those organizations,
must be willing and able to change (often quickly and
dramatically). In many cases, what is impossible today may need
to become the norm tomorrow. Existing paradigms can create a
paralysis that makes it difficult to see beyond these
impossibilities to a different future.
This presentation will explore the nature of
paradigms and show how paradigm paralysis can be overcome in order
to "discover the future" and implement effective change.
The Forces of Change
The only certainty for today's organizations is
change. At one time it may have been reasonable to assume that the
future would be just an extension of the past, and that tried and
true methods would continue to be effective. Today, however, many
external situations exist that place increasing pressure on
organizations and cause them to think about changing:
• Intense Global Competition
• Information and Technology Explosion
• Workforce Diversity and Illiteracy
• Changing Customer Demands (Quality, Delivery Time,
• Changing Social and Cultural Norms
• Struggling National Economy
Not only are these issues far-reaching and
complex, they seem to come at the organization with
ever-increasing speed. Fifty years ago, assessing the external
environment and its influence was like looking at a photograph;
now it's more like watching a videotape on fast forward. As a
result, change becomes almost a given, and the old
business-as-usual responses may not work well, if at all, for most
organizations, even though they might involve less work.
While change is an issue for the whole organization, it is a
more important concern for the people who will be affected in
major, and sometimes disturbing ways by change. The bottom line is
that organizations don't really change, but people within them do.
Any potential change is bound to lead to concerns, confusion,
doubt, stress, and maybe even extreme resistance, often from
people who are otherwise rational, sane and well intentioned. This
is particularly true when there is a feeling that the change is
imposed upon them. Why, then, do people react in this way to
change? It's simple—people resist change because of their
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