Traditional business paradigms evolved from a long history of male and power dominated groups. Historically, these early group archetypes probably developed simply because they had survival value. They may have been the best and most obvious way to survive in a world dominated by danger and privation. With extended periods of application to groups and individuals, this context eventually changed our brains. After eons of time we developed biological connections that gave priority to danger and evoked programmed circuitry to enhance the likelihood of survival. In fact, one of the functions of the medulla (the lower half of the brainstem) is to give priority to danger for signals entering the brain from the spinal cord.

The long history of what had survival value (compared to the speed of change now) interacted with other developments and early industrial age organizations came to reflect what had worked in the past: Male dominance, power focused, and expedient groups built for survival. Unfortunately, little was known or envisioned about unintended consequences of violating other biological paradigms like “nothing living will obey” and “people only invest in what they themselves create.” It appeared to work when the participation of the individual was routine and their work was analogous tightening bolts or working on an assembly line. But, that old prototype now finds itself at war with knowledge creation which is the principal product of most twenty-first century organizations that must innovate to stay viable.

Overtime, cutting edge thought leaders began to explore the cost benefits of these old archetypical paradigms and to offer alternatives for the Knowledge Age. Some of these thought leaders—Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatly, Robert Cooper, David Whyte—showed us how to create learning organizations, relate principles of biology to organizations, recapture our potential, and learn from the wisdom of great literature. In essence, as a group they taught us how we can create organizations that are able to continually evolve their capacity to create their own future, i.e. organizations that can learn.

More recently enlightened CEOs like Robert Chapman and thought leaders like Simon Sinek have begun to identify the obligations leaders have to those entrusted to them and to put that purpose above all else in their lives. Knowing what these people have to say can be a vital key to your personal transformation and that of your organization.

Refinement of existing paradigms is no longer enough to embrace a future where knowledge is created at the “speed of light.”

Links to these thought leaders and others may be found at .