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Paradigm Fulcrum: The Tipping Point of Change

A paradigm is a unique lens a person views their world built through their experiences and influences over their lifetime. Capra (1997) constructed a dynamic systems perspective of paradigm, which he defined as, “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself (p. 6). I like the paradigm perspective of a constellation since there are so many inputs available to our constructs. Another consideration is that our paradigm, whether as an individual or an organization, is ever-evolving as we have new input.

In my research, I wanted to determine how change leaders using a method called Appreciative Inquiry (AI) knew they had an impact on their clients (Davis, 2019a). What emerged from this work was there are only three ways that an impact is determined: a cognitive change, a paradigm change, or a behavioral change. Before changing paradigm, there must be a cognitive change. Then, the person or organization can make behavioral changes. (Davis, 2019a, 2019b). Baker (1992) defined paradigm as a set of rules, whether written or unwritten, that establishes or defines boundaries and tells people how to behave inside those boundaries.

As I pondered how to move people past thoughts (cognitive) to action (behavior) the question came to me about the fulcrum or tipping point, that is needed to shift their paradigm and motivate action. This idea became the Paradigm Fulcrum © (Davis, 2019a, 2019b) concept. The Paradigm