When Was Your Last Paradigm Shift?

Doug Thorpe
6 min readNov 30, 2021

Ah, the now infamous paradigm shift. I learned about “paradigm” at a Stephen R. Covey seminar back when he was alive, touring, and promoting his 7 Habits book. The word wasn’t even in my vocabulary at the time. It became a popular buzzword for business for many years afterward.

In case you’re wondering, here’s the basic definition of the word.

A paradigm is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas. A paradigm is a way of looking at something. The word paradigm comes up a lot in the academic, scientific, and business worlds. A new paradigm in business could mean a new way of reaching customers and making money.

It’s safe to say that the past two years have caused many paradigm shifts in the business world, the way we work, and the way we may continue working.

The Shifts We Know

The massive lockdowns and shutdowns caused by the pandemic sent small business owners, shop keepers, and service companies scrambling. Those who found ways to survive usually did it through massive restructures of their business models.

One story was about an Asian family shifting their business away from a sit-down restaurant-style Chinese food establishment. Instead, they found a niche market for take-out and delivery of Louisiana-style gumbo. By eliminating the overhead of the restaurant, they tripled margins and doubled gross revenue.

Another company I know about was in the business of creating high-end bath soaps. The pandemic squashed that market. With creative leadership, the owner assembled her team and did some brainstorming. They landed on the idea to produce hand sanitizer liquid. Their manufacturing arrangement was easily retooled to support that production, plus many of the ingredients were already on hand. Within weeks they were delivering wholesale quantities to essential workplaces.

Larger enterprises had even bigger shifts. I did work for a large national bank that had to send 95% of the workforce home. How do you perform banking transactions remotely? What must be done to secure customer information over the Internet?

Leaders at this bank got very creative. They identified an encryption device that employees could attach to their home-based computer connections. The device provided a virtual private network (VPN) connection that was extra secure. With this setup, employees could log in to on-premise bank networks and continue…

Doug Thorpe

Business Advisor and Executive Coach for Entrepreneurs & Large Corp Executives | Maximize People, Process & Profits