Paradigm of change to boost confidence


  • Business
  • Thursday, 20 Feb 2003

By Dr Ong Hean - Tatt

ONE could overcome the fear of uncertainty in change through understanding the paradigm of change. 

A paradigm is defined as “a set of assumptions by which the mind perceives the world.” Change necessitates new paradigms. Once we understand the process how a paradigm comes into being, we can work along the process to implement new paradigms. 

  • The paradigm leading to success is effective and tends to determine the way a person does things. 

  • Good paradigms represent organisation and categorisation of knowledge and efficiency in doing things. 

    But, paradigms can face these problems: 

  • Conditions in the world are ever changing. Hence, old sets of assumptions or paradigms may not be so effective in dealing with the new conditions. 

    There is a tendency to stick to old paradigms. The adverse result is that old paradigms lead to increasing failures. Bad decisions become more common. 

  • There are often more than one way of doing things. Others’ paradigms may work equally if not better. “All roads lead to Rome”. 

    The adverse result is that it is easy to impose your paradigm on others and there would be personal friction and strife within the organisation. Understand your people and formulate a paradigm which has the least human friction. 

    When there is a significant problem arising, it is a sign that the old paradigm is getting ineffective. Changes in paradigms may be needed if goals are to reduce failures and be more cost-effective. 

    A new paradigm may be required. But, it is often difficult to change paradigms owing to these reasons: 

  • Human egoism tends to make one reject the viewpoints of others. 

  • People may resist changes in paradigms as they feel their status would be threatened. 

    The new paradigm will suffer from lack of track record. Hence, to implement a new paradigm these steps may need to be taken: 

  • Good planning to show it is not a flimsy thing. Work on the problem to identify new assumptions required to form new paradigms. 

  • Adopt good public relations to overcome the tendency of others to reject others’ viewpoints. 

  • Talk to key persons first before announcing the new paradigm. Win over these people, so that the new paradigm would face less opposition. 

  • Introduce novelty wherever possible as people often like novelty. 

    The paradigm is often shaped by prolonged interaction with a definite set of environmental conditions.  

    The paradigm has the force of habit. Habits are difficult to change, a quality which must be borne in mind in all efforts to change a paradigm. As habits are mental in nature, the process of formulating a paradigm involves a great deal of mental persuasion to encourage new habits. 

    Effective creation, acceptance and influence of paradigm depend greatly on powerful manipulation of human emotions! 

    Strong strategic measures are required to affect the displacement of an old paradigm with a new paradigm. 

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