“Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible.”
– Richard Jefferies -Nineteenth century English naturalist and novelist.
An individual’s paradigms are the set of rules by which they think the game of life is played. Your paradigms dictate the way you see the world around you. You can have major improvements in your life by shifting your reference points. Since your paradigms are the basis of your reference points, a change in your paradigms will ultimately affect the greatest change in your life.
Paradigms are a result of the environment that you grew up in as well as your current environment and social surrounding. Your self-image is formed as you develop in life.
Your paradigms are affected by your self-image with respect to your capabilities. Your environment will shape your paradigms in conjunction with the world around you. To be able to have a paradigm shift, which is what is necessary to have a remarkable change in achievement and success in your life, you must be open to those changes. Herein is where the difficulty lies: unless you have strong self-esteem it will be difficult to open yourself up to these changes in reference and belief. If you have a poor self-image, you will be more concerned with protecting your current position by sticking with the status quo. It is hard to open up to change if you are busy protecting what you have. By working on your self-esteem and self-image, you will essentially put yourself in a position to shed the chains holding you back. You will be able to open up your mind to new ideas so that you can achieve a paradigm shift and be in a position for significant success in your life.
In 1952, The Lipton Tea Company invented the flo-thru tea bag. People around the world see tea bags as being rectangular in shape and attached by a string to a paper tag. Forty years later Tetley Tea made a paradigm shift. They decided “tea bags can be different. Tea cups are round. Saucers are round. Why not have round tea bags?” After introducing the new product in England, Tetley’s sales increased over 40%, becoming number-one in the market! The round tea bag has now been released in Canada and the United States, with similar success.
When I first entered the window business our customer base included medium and small window retailers. Larger retailers purchased their windows out of town because they had the purchasing volume to justify shipments. The retailers believed that by marketing an exclusive window, they could get a higher price than for a window that was available elsewhere.
The small and medium retailers did not have access to the same product, so if homeowners wanted the exact window the large company showed them, they had to pay the price the large retailer was asking. My experience for the first two years in the window business was that a local manufacturer could not successfully sell a large in-town account. One day, I had a paradigm shift. I decided that anyone could create an exclusive product. The fact that my factory was located in the same market as the large dealer did not matter. Once I realized that I could offer something different, I set out to create our exclusive window.
I had not tried before, because my paradigm had dictated that exclusivity did not exist for me. After only a short time, I came up with a program of exclusive product features and unique marketing ideas. Our first large account bought half a million dollars worth of windows on an annual basis. The second account spent over two million dollars with us annually! My original paradigm was shaped by the people I worked with. Look at the success I was able to achieve by changing my reference points. This paradigm shift was worth over fifty-thousand-dollars in annual commissions and worth far more to the company in profits and increased buying power.
At one point we decided to expand our product line with an additional high quality vinyl window. Everyone in the industry felt that a top quality replacement window had to be fusion welded at the joints. Fusion welding is labor intensive and requires expensive welding and cleaning equipment. I started researching other manufacturing methods and began evaluating different options. Finally, we found a method of fastening that was 30% stronger than welding. It didn’t involve expensive manufacturing equipment, so we were able to tool up for half the cost of a traditional welded system.
Even better, we were able to reduce our labor costs by approximately one-third! We became more competitive and sales of this new product skyrocketed. These drastic results were all possible because of our paradigm shift: because we had changed our view on how quality windows had to be manufactured.
Evaluate your paradigms. By shifting your points of reference, can you open up new areas of potential growth? Don’t say, “that’s impossible.” Say, “how can I make that possible?” Things that were not possible before will become possible. Your ability to achieve will be enhanced and the time needed to achieve your primary desires will be reduced. Change your paradigms, and you will be accountable to Building a Better Biz!