Paradigm Shift: Changing Worlds and World Views

From Tom Krapu:

Nearly everyone has an idea of what "paradigm shifts" means. “Grasping a new and different way of seeing things” comes to mind. But most people don’t know who popularized this idea, and the story is fascinating. So are the implications.

My colleague Manfred Straehle pointed out in a LinkedIn discussion that this concept is celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year.  Thank you, Manfred!

A paradigm shift can cause a quantum leap in how we view the worldThomas Kuhn is the originator of “paradigm shift” and he has had a cult (read: enthusiastic) following in academia since he published the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962. I read it in the early 70s and while I was too young for it to rock my world, I certainly drank the Kool-Aid. The Guardian article Manfred cites does a GREAT job of summarizing Kuhn’s life and work. A great tribute.

But what are the implications of Kuhn’s work in our daily lives? As the Guardian article points out, changing one's state of understanding in a profound and dramatic way can be described as paradigm shifting. We aren’t talking small insights or discoveries. Here we are talking about those mind-blowing breakthroughs in understanding that can be life-altering. Learning is not always incremental; sometimes it takes place in leaps!

For instance, there was a time when my perception of my social world was one where myself and others simply acted upon each other. I believed my actions were my only source of impact in relation to others. I was separate, independent and autonomous from them. I acted and they reacted, or they acted and I reacted.

One book that was life-changing for me was Leadership and Self-Deception. As a result of reading it, I had a sudden and immediate shift in the way I think about relationships and how I attribute cause. Let me give you an example.

Before: I am offended by someone’s actions and in my mind, their offense justifies whatever course of action I take in relation to them.

After: I am offended by someone’s actions and I consider the offense more deeply and contextualize the offense. Was there something I did to influence this which I was or was not aware of? If unaware, am I open to learning what that influence was? If I did do something am I willing to apologize?

“We don’t know what we don’t know.” What a great saying. But when what we don’t know comes to light, THEN we can see things in that light that we had not considered before. Some such shifts in understanding and awareness can literally change the world for us because it can transform how we see nearly everything in our lives.

Read more from Tom Krapu on Handshake 2.0

As an executive and leadership coach, Tom Krapu, Ph.D., PCC has over thirty years of experience helping others in their personal and professional development.  Since 2001, he has served as a coach, trainer and facilitator at the individual, team and organizational levels. His executive coaching experience includes working with executives at all levels in diverse sectors of the economy from technology to health care, investment, publishing, manufacturing, government and higher education.  He blogs at Infinite Potential.  You're invited to connect with Tom Krapu on LinkedIn.

Tom Krapu is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

What Are Your Executive Skills?

From Tom Krapu:

What are “executive skills”? Think of these as higher order cognitive abilities that serve our strengths and drive success. We usually are not good at all of them. A correlation may exist between executive skills and “strengths” in general. Executive skills are twelve “hard wired” brain functions; strengths relate to character strengths.

What are your executive skills?What are your executive skills? Here is a simple, self-published measure of executive skills (.pdf) that I have gotten permission to reproduce.  If you want to do a simple self-assessment, this tool is a great one. It can bring clarity to the executive skills that you “bring to the table.”

When I did this assessment, it brought more clarity to every success I could recount in my life. For instance, Goal Directed Persistence is one of my strong executive skills and explains much of my success being self-employed.  My results also affirmed my decision to hire my executive assistant Cathy. Her strength (organization), my weakness! It has really helped strengthen our working relationship. Working Memory applies to the storage and usage of memory to complete complex cognitive tasks or manage time effectively.  Imagine how this information might inform and clarify who you are and how you work best. This type of assessment can be helpful in making sure important skills are present on a team as well.

If you are curious, feel free to print and take this assessment. If you'd like to discuss your results, please contact me.

Read Tom Krapu's Relational Presence and Leaders

As an executive and leadership coach, Tom Krapu, Ph.D., PCC has over thirty years of experience helping others in their personal and professional development.  Since 2001, he has served as a coach, trainer and facilitator at the individual, team and organizational levels. His executive coaching experience includes working with executives at all levels in diverse sectors of the economy from technology to health care, investment, publishing, manufacturing, government and higher education.  He blogs at Infinite Potential.  You're invited to connect with Tom Krapu on LinkedIn.

Tom Krapu is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Relational Presence and Leaders

From Tom Krapu:

Relational presence is the capacity to be fully present to others and deeply connected to them. This capacity has an enormous impact on how we relate to others and has huge implications for how communication is received. Relational presence is difficult to measure but most people know it when they experience it. When we are fully present to others in our interactions, it creates a powerful invitation to “join.” As leaders, this capacity helps us create cohesive teams, invite “cooperative following” (buy-in), and inspires others to shift away from “self-focus.”

When we think of some of the most positive and influential people in our lives and how they have impacted us, and we consider the ways they were present to us, we can see that relational or leadership presence is really a cornerstone of interpersonal influence.

So can relational presence be learned? This is a very important question. For most people I believe the answer is yes. I believe this skill largely transcends traditional intellectual intelligence because it is central to our relational life and everything in life is fundamentally “in relationship.”

The work of the Arbinger Institute through their books and seminars creates a powerful invitation to relational presence. Another resource in this area is Lee Glickstein, the creator of Speaking Circles.  He has developed a methodology that actually focuses on the capacity for relational presence. 

The video below, albeit produced by a  company for marketing purposes, speaks to the power of being present and connected in relation to others.

I invite leaders to look more deeply at their own aspirations to be more fully present everywhere they want to have an impact.



As an executive and leadership coach, Tom Krapu, Ph.D., PCC has over thirty years of experience helping others in their personal and professional development.  Since 2001, he has served as a coach, trainer and facilitator at the individual, team and organizational levels. His executive coaching experience includes working with executives at all levels in diverse sectors of the economy from technology to health care, investment, publishing, manufacturing, government and higher education.  He blogs at Infinite Potential.  You’re invited to connect with Tom Krapu on LinkedIn.

Tom Krapu is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.