Check Your Paradigms

FranklinCovey Content Team

Are you seeing people and situations accurately?
Dr. Covey popularized the term “paradigm,” which comes from the Greek root paradigma, meaning a pattern, model, or representation of something. Our paradigms are the perceptions, frames of reference, worldviews, value systems, or lenses through which we see everyone and everything, including ourselves. They add meaning, true or false, to the world around us, and affect the way we interpret what we see and experience, and how we interact and relate with others.
Our paradigms are perhaps the most powerful tools we have in how we interact with others. It’s worth serious introspection to check why we view others the way we do and correct any misperceptions or outdated beliefs.


  • Make a list of all the people who report to you. One by one, reflect on your current paradigm of them as a professional or their promotability. Are you willing to challenge its accuracy? Could it be incomplete?
  • If you were to suspend your current paradigm of someone, could they earn their way to a different paradigm? If so, how? What would you need to “see”?
  • Flip this challenge onto yourself. Seek out a trusted friend or colleague and ask them to share their paradigm about you — as a leader, friend, colleague, or any other role they may have context for. Can you summon the maturity and introspection to grow into the paradigm you’d like them to hold?
  • Checking paradigms often requires a sustained, deep look into yourself to work. This is not a “quick fix.” Ask yourself: Am I willing to pay the price to change my mindset?

For more on checking your paradigms, watch this short clip of Scott Miller, author of the book Management Mess to Leadership success.

Read about paradigms from the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey.


Go from a management mess to a leadership success. Join Scott Miller for a live webcast and learn more about the 30 challenges that all leaders face. 

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