Thought Leadership Studio Blog Posts:

The Shift Hits the Fans and Paradigms Collapse

Paradigms are entrenched mindsets that act as filters. They are like sunglasses that only let in certain colors but not others.


#leadership, #massinfluence, #paradigms, #paradigmshifts, #strategicthoughtleadership, #systemsthinking

Tony Shalhoub, in the role of the actor playing Chief Engineer Fred Kwanon in the Star-Trek-like show the movie "Galaxy Quest" centered on, asks "has anybody got any change?" as his mates are beamed into outer space by fans of the show pretending to be aliens. The paradigm shift is that the "fans" turn out to actually be aliens. Change indeed. The shift hit the fans (and actors) as they were seen as the aliens they actually were.

Paradigm Duck/Bunny

What is a paradigm?

Paradigms are entrenched mindsets that act as filters. They are like sunglasses that only let in certain colors but not others. They can go by other names. Paradigms are a more encompassing version of what Peter Senge called "Mental Models" and what NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) calls "beliefs." They vary in their scope from personal to global.

An example of a common paradigm in some societies is a child's belief in the Easter Bunny (not just a myth?).

A business might have an unspoken paradigm of "don't give the boss bad news".

Science has paradigms like Copernicus' theory, the heliocentric view of the earth orbiting the sun.

Paradigms are systems and act like living organisms with a will to perpetuate themselves. They do so in two main ways:

  1. Once a paradigm is accepted, it filters out information that would contradict it.

  2. The effect of self-fulfilling prophesy means those who hold a paradigm - whether they be individual people, segments of the marketplace, or an entire culture - act in a way that expects the paradigm to fulfill itself, so it usually does.

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are - or, as we are conditioned to see it. - Steven R Covey

However, while paradigms may seem durable, they can dissolve quickly when met with the critical mass of contradictory information that signals the beginning of a new paradigm. At that point it's better to be driving the car rather than standing in the headlight beams.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, some achieve paradigm shifts and some have paradigm shifts thrust upon them. Copernicus' heliocentric paradigm replaced the geocentric paradigm of the sun orbiting the Earth, and has now been supplanted by Einstein's relativity.

How do you make sure you are the driver - or, at least a passenger in the same car - and not the deer in the headlights when an old paradigm collapses as a new one comes in?

You can make paradigms your tools, instruments of a better life or a more successful business, when you learn to notice, utilize, and create Paradigm Vectors.

Let's consider next the three Paradigm Vectors...


Written by Chris McNeil, Strategic Thought Leadership NLP Coach and Consultant, Founder of Thaut, host of Thought Leadership Studio podcast, and Creator of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.

Click here to connect with Chris on LinkedIn (please mention this post in the request)

Click here to follow Chris behind the wheel of Thought Leadership Studio on Twitter.

Click here to follow the Thought Leadership Studio Magazine on Flipboard.

Instantly get a Free Site Membership to access members-only content, including the Marketer's Guide to Strategic Thought Leadership.

Click here to schedule a FREE 30-minute discovery session with Chris to brainstorm on or troubleshoot your or your organization's thought leadership or marketing.

Listen or Subscribe to Podcast

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Spotify
Listen on iHeart Radio
Listen on Castbox
Listen on
Listen on TuneIn
Listen on Google Podcasts

Recent Posts

Infographic - 5 Prerequisites to Strategic Thought Leadership

Infographic - 5 Prerequisites to Strategic Thought Leadership

You need all of these to succeed with Strategic Thought Leadership: Take the Customer Point of View, Understand High-Level Audience Thinking, Creative Leadership as a Service, Generate Persuasive Talking Points, Well-Orchestrated Execution

The 7 Levels of Learning and Influence

The 7 Levels of Learning and Influence

Know what level you Influence on to maximize your positive impact. Tap into the power of higher level influence and higher level learning.

Don't Miss the Opportunity of Your Prospects' Online Research

Don't Miss the Opportunity of Your Prospects' Online Research

Because it is off the radar, many businesses let others teach their segment how and what to buy. Expand your influence to their off-radar learning and increase your leads.

Thought Leadership FAQs

Thought Leadership FAQs

Thought Leadership is influencing an audience to embrace a particular “model”, or way of thinking about a topic. The model becomes the way to think about it.

Avoid the Accidental Brand

Avoid the Accidental Brand

When the marketplace disagrees with the intended brand, accidental branding takes over. Let's take a tour of the Brandscape.

Browse or Search All Blog Posts