Thursday, May 18, 2006

Global business paradigms

Business Times p.B2
Thursday, May 18, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Global business paradigms

ACCORDING to authors William A. Guillory, Christopher Harding and Daniel Guillory, a successful organization of the future needs to be driven by quantum leadership.

They call this high performance organization as future perfect organization that dynamically recreates itself in response to future projected business environment, anticipated customer expectations and a workplace context for exceptional performance.

But first let’s backtrack a bit and trace the historical progression various societal and business paradigms.

In their presentation at the recently concluded ASTD 2005 in Dallas, Texas, and in their book The Future Perfect Organization—Driven by Quantum Leadership, these authors described the global business paradigms through ages.

First, the thousands of years of the hunting and foraging age. Then, the paradigm that redefined living groups was based upon agriculture. “In this paradigm, power was based upon land ownership.

Next came the Industrial Revolution that began in England in the mid-1600’s and lasted through 1950 or a total of 300 years. Many innovations of the Industrial Age revolutionized Western business economy. Among the major inventions are locomotive and automobiles. “Power during that age was based upon capital or money.”

The Information Age crept in the mid-1900’s to 1990 for about 40 years and the operative word was “speed.” “Information is generated by drawing conclusions or making deductions based upon interrelated data. For example, weather forecasts (information) are the result of the speed of weather patterns, directions and other intervening weather fronts (data).

The major event during this era was the invention of machines called computers that could efficiently store, retrieve and process large amounts of information. Power in this more recent Age was based upon having and processing information needed in making strategic business decisions.”

Remember floppy disks and Wordstar?

Of what value is information if they are not transformed to something useful and profitable? Overlapping the Information Age was the Knowledge-Based Age. “Computers are products of the Information Age and software programs are products of the Knowledge-Based Age. Power was based upon an organization’s ability to create new knowledge that continually produced new products, services and ways to be successful.

Knowledge is generated by the creative integration of information.” The major implication of the Knowledge Age, spanning the years 1900 to 2000, is managing and leveraging intellectual capital.”

“The present paradigm [2000-2005] is based upon values and ethics in terms of personal choices, workplace functioning and societal expectations.” There is an increasing need to balance workplace demands and personal responsibilities. “Individuals are now being forced to make personal choices about what’s really important in their lives.” The ultimate source of resolution of such choices is their innermost personal values based upon the importance of family, faith, service and their personal well-being.

The workplace leaders need to become more sensitive and responsive to the personal needs of employees as they attempt to adapt to a 24/7 world. “Divorce [annulment in the Philippines], single parenting, elder care and family responsibilities all “spill over” into workplace performance and create the need for new facilitative competencies.”

Likewise, business and society have created both high professional and ethical expectations based on values such as honesty, respect, equality, integrity and trust. Power in this Values-Based Age is based upon the recognition of people as an organization’s only sustainable resource, in good and bad times.

The Guilorys and Harding predict that the next paradigms will be the Age of Connectedness, dominated by cooperation and collaboration. “This way of operating will emerge as the most powerful mode of achieving exceptional business performance while simultaneously ensuring the long-term well-being of people. Global interdependence will continue to accelerate. Now, we will need quantum leadership.

Moje, president of Paradigms and Paradoxes Corp., can be reached at

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