It’s a blow to the ego to think we know the truth – only to discover we’ve had a limited perspective. Like a prank or a bad joke we play on ourselves, we limit our progress because of a limiting paradigm we think is the truth. New information can change what we consider to be true – and often accelerate performance.
Here is a list of commonly uttered “truths,” the potential paradigm breaker, and a sample question that enables us to tap the greater potential that is always available:
1. “We don’t have enough time to do any training or people development.” (Paradigm breaker: The reason we don’t have enough time is because we haven’t done the necessary people development.) Ask: What can we do to integrate a greater ‘learn-as-we-go’ approach?
2. “I’m too tired to exercise.” (Paradigm breaker: The reason I’m tired is because I haven’t exercised.) Ask: What’s my strategy to create a new ‘default’ behavior when I’m physically tired?
3. “We won’t hit our targets until they become more responsible.” (Paradigm breaker: There is no “they.” There is only “we.”) Ask: What responsibility do we have in this situation?
4. “What they have to understand is…” (Paradigm breaker: We can’t mandate that people understand anything. Ownership of any idea is a personal activity.) Ask: What questions will we ask to co-discover a greater solution together?
5. “If we work hard enough and long enough our work load will lighten.” (Paradigm breaker: Working harder and longer doesn’t shorten the to-do list, it creates more opportunities.) Ask: What will we do to increase effectiveness and production while strengthening our “balance”?
What pranks in thinking have you observed yourself or others play? And most importantly, what’s the question that can be asked to break paradigms and move to greater action?
Share your comments below so other leaders can be inspired by your truths.