Paradigm Shifters – Hire a Junior to Lead Your Company?
First of all, there will always be a paradigm. There might be a state where conflicting paradigms are competing for supremacy but a time without paradigms is not possible.
Having recognised how your own expectations and therefore paradigms influence your beliefs about the world, you can use this ability to advance.
Assuming you have discovered the state of severe discomfort where your old paradigm does not fit anymore, what kind of leader or in general human resources are necessary to complete the paradigm shift? For instance, why do the big strategy consultancies employ often people with backgrounds that often seem counter-intuitive to the business that are in?
Thomas Kuhn argued that “almost always the men who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have been either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change”. This is supported by Professor Gautam Mukunda, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, in the Harvard Business Review Article “Great Leaders Don’t Need Experience” where he describes “filtered (experienced) leaders” as “usually making the same decisions”. He uses Abraham Lincoln as an example for an unfiltered leader:
“Two-time loser in Senate races, and so outside the system that he wasn’t even listed in the top 10 Republican presidential candidates in some newspapers in 1860. Most other Republicans thought the South was bluffing about secession and would have let them go peacefully, expecting them to return soon enough. Only Lincoln had the capacity to say “We won’t give up Fort Sumter without a fight” to come up with a strategy that forced the South to fire the first shot, and to unite the North behind him.”
So how can you drive a paradigm shift in terms of human resources? You want filtered leadership, right until you need unfiltered leadership. This means that when you are happy in your market and the industry is developing well, filtered leadership will get you the best return with appropriate risk. However, if you want to find your blue ocean, you will need to go outside the realm of the market rules and explore new waters. For this scenario, you would like someone unfiltered that makes decisions no one else could. These ones are likely to lead you to big wins but also to big losses.
In the beginning we have asked the question why big strategy consultancies employ often people with backgrounds that often seem counter-intuitive to the business that are in? Because combined with a filtered surrounding, e.g. experienced colleagues, these can help to make the organisation aware of new opportunities and can start the paradigm shift.
Concluding, you will need a combination of filtered and unfiltered leaders in your organisation or through external sources and choose the right combination based on your expectations for risk versus return.