Why paradigm shifts are hard and how to make them

Written by Mathieu Yuill

February 02, 2021

When the Dell Computer Corporation was facing insolvency, the order was given to sell all the inventory in order to get some money in the bank. What followed was the realization they needed to move from being a company that kept inventory to a company that never kept inventory.

It was a paradigm shift that required the entire company to begin seeing what they knew to be true differently.

When a company, nonprofit, association or organization is facing crisis, shifting a paradigm can sometimes happen swiftly and at least from the outside looking in, easy. But nothing could be further from the truth. Shifting a paradigm runs headfirst into values, beliefs and widely held common sense and that’s where the conflict happens.

What about when you’re not facing a crisis but there are indicators you need to change the norm in a fundamental way? We see this so often with Apple and product lineups. They suddenly end or cancel a product or product line in favour of something new in order to prepare for a change they anticipate being on the horizon. It’s a paradigm shift outside of a crisis.

In the video above, we discuss what makes a paradigm shift hard, why it’s hard and look at a high level some of the steps you can take to take your organization through a paradigm shift.

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