SUCCESS Book Club Ch. 4: Paradigm Breaking

SUCCESS Book Club Selection: Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Frank I. Luntz. SUCCESS editors and staff will read and dissect a chapter and offer key points and discussion questions. Just joining us? Read notes from Chapter OneChapter Two and Chapter Three.


Generally defined, a paradigm is a set of assumptions, concepts and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality. That’s jargon for: If you’ve ever said, “we’ve always done it that way,” that should be a red flag.

By breaking paradigms, “winners” in Frank I. Luntz’ sense of the word, invent new benchmarks and apply the rules  to those markers.  This added level of creative freedom distinguishes winners from the rest of us and is the wellspring of many of mankind’s greatest achievements.

Winning Trait: Paradigm breakers convert their own dreams and visions into widespread public demands.

Most people assume that people at the top of their profession simply do things better than everyone else. Not necessarily. In some cases they simply do things differently from everyone else.

“You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and say ‘Why not?”  –George Bernard Shaw

Winners don’t accept the world for what it is. They’re driven by their ideas of how the world should be. Their vision becomes a mission, and that mission reshapes the human experience. If you’re not asking “Why not?,” you’re not in the winning mentality.


Paradigm Breakers

Ray Kroc and McDonald’s

Upon witnessing the McDonalds’ brothers first restaurant in Southern California, Ray Kroc said, “This will go anyplace.   That night in my hotel room I did a lot of heavy thinking about what I had seen during the day.  Visions of McDonald’s restaurants dotting crossroads all over the country paraded through my brain.”

Kroc wasn’t the one to create the first McDonald’s restaurant, but he changed the way America consumes its meals.

Andrea Jung and Avon

An enormous part of paradigm breaking is mental.  You have to do whatever it takes to effect change, and often that means clearing your mind of past failures and focusing anew on ground breaking ideas.  Andrea Jung, the CEO of Avon and one of Forbes 100 most powerful women in the world, strives to continually refresh her outlook and role.

“Fire yourself on a Friday and come back in on Monday morning as if a search firm put you there as a turn-around leader.  Can you be objective and make the bold change?  If you can’t the you haven’t reinvented yourself.”


5 Rules for Breaking the Rules

  1. Embrace risk
  2. Paradigm breaking is about focused exploration
  3. Paradigm breaking is still subordinate to putting people first
  4. Communication matters
  5. Have the courage to defend your new and better approach.
Chapter read and annotated by Greg Harp, Vice President of Marketing and e-Commerce.


Discussion Points:

  1. When’s the last time you asked, “Why?” Share it here and say why asking “why” was important in that situation. How was it received by others?
  2. Is Andrea Jung’s exercise to reinvent realistic? She says, fire yourself on a Friday and come back on Monday ready to start anew. Is it productive to continually question to status quo? Why or why not?
  3. For you paradigm breakers among us, share some effective strategies for encouraging others to seek new and better approaches? How does “why” become contagious?

REPLY below with your answers to these questions. Let’s start the discussion!


Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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