“ Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality & sustain it” – Bennis



As taught us all by Joel Barker in the 1980s, a paradigm is the way each of us sees the world. It’s a road map that applies to both our business and personal lives. Paradigms are useful because they set ground rules for the game we are playing, help us solve problems while playing that game, and establish behavior expectations on the playing field. We spend our whole lives trying to perfect our skills and knowledge to improve productivity in our personal paradigms.

A paradigm shift is a change to a different game and set of rules. When a paradigm shifts, everyone goes back to zero. Skills and knowledge that made experts in the old paradigm are irrelevant in the new paradigm. A new game and set of rules requires a different set of skills and knowledge to succeed. So what does this have to do with leadership?

The traditional comparison of management and leadership says that the manager’s role is to manage (control and direct) the group’s performance in pursuit of a given goal, while the leader leads (influences and inspires) the group towards a vision. Or, as Peter Drucker once said

“Leadership is doing the right things; management is doing things right” – Drucker


As a slightly different view, I would like to offer this.


“The manager improves performance within the current paradigm. The leader moves the group from the current paradigm to a new paradigm”.


Because all paradigms eventually hit the wall, new paradigms emerge with innovative solutions that break the old rules to solve previously unsolvable problems. What appeared to be impossible in the old paradigm suddenly becomes attainable in the new paradigm. This is where leaders make their living. They move groups from the old way to a new and better way and, of course, the sooner the better. And that is why leadership is so rare and valuable. The return on investment of an excellent leader is virtually immeasurable and therefore the best leaders can regularly command their asking price.

10 Powerful Change Strategies.

The leader that shifts paradigms,

1.    Has the authority to lead the group. 

2.    Establishes the group’s purpose and vision of the future.

3.    Accepts responsibility for the welfare of the group.

4.    Operates according to group principles.

5.    Confronts the group’s reality.

6.    Sells the need for change.

7.    Motivates the group toward achievement of the vision.

8.    Influences the group to attain the vision.

9.    Keeps the group informed of progress.

10.  Operates transparently.


This standard of leadership requires high character with a great many interpersonal skills, including integrity, maturity, trust, empathy, discipline, listening and consistency. A leader that moves the paradigm lives the credibility of their character, demonstrates the strength of their capability and sells the conviction of their vision.



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