Step one is to figure out where you want to move to. What does the solution look like.
- If you need more sales, how many more sales could you cope with? What will life look like with those more sales?
- If you need more money, how much more money?
- If you need more staff, how much more staff do you need? What will they do for your business? (if personal this could be friends, contacts or even partners)
- If you need more time, how much more time do you need?
Step two is looking at your current situation and getting clear on why you want to move from this current place.
- Define what is the pain and why you want the pain to go away. Does it relate to where you want to be?
- Define the parameters that are keeping you in the current situation. Be sure you have the clear picture relative to where you want to be so that you can truly see the point you are at now and the point you are trying to get to.
Step three is defining all the paths that you could take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
- Figure out all the possible ways of arriving at your destination. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. Remember that no idea is too small or too silly to move forward.
Step four is to figure out the constraints on each path. Is it money, time, energy resources or something else?
Step five – GOYA. In other words take action and stop sitting and wishing and hoping. There are several sayings that I could give here but I will let you tell me your favourite saying in the comments below.
And always remember that when you have stated the problem clearly and know what it is you want to happen, you are nearly 89% of the way to eliminating the problem. The biggest obstacle to solving problems is the to and from of steps one and two. Once you take the time to define these two positions, everything else falls into place and you have the ability to move forward and achieve miracles.
And the timing that works best – as soon as you think you have a problem. Problems rarely go away on their own.
To your success in business
Using Paradigm Shifts to get Overnight Organizational Optimisation
The following is adapted from the broadcast on Blog Talk Radio 11 January 2011.
What is a paradigm?
In a sense, a “paradigm” is a fancy word for “model”. It’s a model of how you expect the world to behave, and how you expect to behave in the world around you. It’s a world view that you use to understand how the world functions.
Change your paradigm, and you literally change YOUR world!
We first came across the effects when we were teaching people how to start their own businesses. The people would come in with great ideas, most of which had little chance of success. These were not stupid people. They had looked around, seen people making a modicum of success being self-employed, and figured they could do the same thing. Most had already tried, and found that their business idea was floundering.
They had the experience to do all the things they needed to do. They had the skills and the knowledge that could lead to success. They had the will to succeed. But they just could not make that breakthrough to success.
Most had spent thousands of dollars on courses and consultants. They had their mentors, both free (through various funded schemes) and paid-for. Some had been managers in large corporations. Some had family connections with business experience. Yet their businesses were failing.
To cut a long story short, they took our three-day intensive course on running a small business, and a very large percentage of them are still in business – nearly 20 years later!
What happened during those three days?
They made a paradigm shift!
Can anyone describe what happens during a paradigm shift?
Not really. You see, the tricky part of a paradigm shift is that it changes past, present and future. It’s easy to understand why such a shift changes the present and future, but how can it change what has already happened?
The answer is that the interpretation of the experiences is different.
For example: you probably learned arithmetic at school. You might not have liked the subject, but it does give an illustration of how paradigm shifts affect the way you see things, even things in the past.
When you start learning about numbers, the first numbers are what mathematicians call the counting numbers – one, two, three… You learn that the numbers are in a particular sequence, and that two is one plus one; three is one plus two, and so on. From that, you learn that two plus two is four, and four plus four is eight. That’s a paradigm: the counting numbers behave in a certain way, and you expect them to keep acting in the same way.
Of course, there is a problem when you go from single digit numbers to double digits – six plus seven is thirteen, eight plus nine is seventeen. But there is a consistency in the results, one that you learn to expect. Even when you learn to add up double digit numbers, you find that there is a consistency with what happens when you go from single digits to double digits. Eventually, you begin to see that adding three and four digit numbers is not so different from adding single digits.
Then you learn about differences: two minus one equals one; five minus three equals two, and so on. This leads to a real problem. It’s fine when you are subtracting a number from a bigger number, like twelve minus eight, but what happens when you subtract twelve from eight?
The paradigm for counting numbers doesn’t allow for this. The answer (-4) does NOT belong to the counting numbers. The integers (the minus numbers, zero, and the positive numbers) give you a new paradigm. Once you adopt this new paradigm, it is almost impossible to think in terms of the counting numbers paradigm. You KNOW that the difference can be less than zero, and have few problems with it.
Then you get to the paradigm of the rational numbers (fractions), which allow you to divide an integer by another integer, and still come up with an answer – not possible with the integers. And then there are “real numbers”, the ones that seem to fit in-between the rational numbers. It’s another paradigm, and one that allows you to do manipulations you could not do with counting numbers, integers or rational numbers. And, finally, when you get to higher levels of education, you find that there are “imaginary numbers” and “complex numbers”.
Here’s a question: which are more “real”: real numbers or counting numbers?
The answer is that you can’t compare them that way. They are different modes of thought, working from different paradigms.
Why did we go through this?
Because it gives us a way of looking at the criteria which show the difference between paradigms:
* Broader scope
* More fruitful
(These criteria were first outlined by Thomas Kuhn (a physicist, who is best known for his philosophy and history of science studies.)
If you look at the number systems we’ve outlined, you can see that complex numbers are more accurate and more fruitful than the other number systems – they give us solutions to many equations, for example. They have a broader scope of applicability. While all the systems are consistent within themselves, they also keep the consistency for the equivalents in the “higher” systems.
Does this same thing apply to business?
The answer is YES!
The trouble is that business is not as easy to define like mathematics or the hard sciences.
Mathematics is about precise relationships between entities like numbers, or points, lines and curves. It is precise because it deals with measurable parameters. The hard sciences, like physics, depend on measurable quantities like mass, distance and time.
What’s the equivalent in business?
There isn’t any.
The closest is money and time as the main parameters, but there’s also population, population density, distance to a market (calculations of time to cover the distance and the cost of doing so), different needs – luxury, ordinary, essential. One could go on for hours about the bits and pieces that one has to know about a business.
Even with the easy ones – Money, to be meaningful, depends on the size of the business. Some companies can spend millions of dollars on advertising, while others look at a marketing budget of a couple of hundred as large.
Our approach is to think of the business parameters as “fuzzy”, as in “fuzzy logic”; everything is relative to the individual business, and two businesses, even if they are in the same type of business, are not directly comparable. It’s as if they are using two different paradigms. Actually, if you think of Purpose as a paradigm, similar businesses do have different Purposes, so maybe they are.
Can a business change paradigms overnight?
The short answer is yes. However, there are often “hold-outs” who try to drag the business back to the old paradigm, and it can take a while before these people accept the new paradigm.
What you need to understand is why the new paradigm replaces the old.
So, why does a new paradigm replace the old one?
It comes back to the list of criteria we’ve already covered – accuracy, consistency, simplicity, scope and fruitfulness.
A new paradigm will start to appear:
* When the existing one becomes too complicated to be workable. You look at the business procedures, and start finding that the current processes and procedures emphasize the exceptions. The more exceptions that are present in the processes, the more complicated things get. There are hierarchies within the hierarchies, and many small “empires” being built within the organisation.
* When the existing paradigm does not have the scope to cover what should be the natural market for the company. You look at what the logical prospects are buying instead of the current set of products. It’s not that the products are bad or obsolete (although that can be the case), but that people no longer think of the products to meet their needs. Needs change, not the products.
* When people seem to be using the same paradigm, but they give different answers to the same questions. This shows up as a lack of consistency in the organization, and will drive buyers away from the business.
* Lack of new ideas and new approaches.
* The variety of buyers reduces. Often, the business depends too heavily on a small number of clients, so losing one has a huge effect on the total turnover.
Any one of these means that the current paradigm has outlived its usefulness, and the business is moribund. Oh, it may continue for a long while, but any change in economic conditions can have a major effect on staffing, getting new business, holding on to existing clients and so on. Even a new competitor coming into the market in a thriving economy will have a bad effect.
So, how does one create a new paradigm?
The simple answer is that the business has to go back to basics; the basics that made it work well in the first place. It’s not a matter of starting over, although that could be an option, but one of re-invention.
In our view of business, this is the Third Law of Business: “The objective of every business is to eliminate itself”. Or, in another metaphor: “every organisation is either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.
We’ll reach the other two laws as we go through this whole series…