Playing Scarce


talent_tightrope

“Those with a scarcity mindset waste time complaining about how hard it is to find talented people.” — Misti Burmeister

If we are to lead others to greatness, blow our numbers out of the water, and experience limitless success, we must give up scarcity as our modus operandi.

Playing scarce means focusing on the competitive aspects of business – the limited resources like money, materials, talent and clients. But when we operate from an abundance mindset, we are collaborative, trusting there is plenty to go around.

As Wallace Wattles writes in The Science of Getting Rich, the key to manifesting our dreams is collaboration. When we approach opportunities with a competitive mindset, we’re only focused on winning. As a result, we miss out on achieving greater levels of success, which often comes with collaboration.

At a recent networking function, I met a top lawyer from Baltimore, Maryland. When he asked what I do, I explained, “I help organizations strengthen their culture so people of all generations want to thrive.”

“My firm pays $165,000 a year,” he responded. “When you bring home that kind of a paycheck, you better show up with a smile on your face and want to work hard.”

Here’s a guy with the potential to positively affect the lives of his 70 employees – and each person they touch. But instead of looking for ways to develop his people and create opportunities for them, he’s wasting precious talent. Imagine the greater impact he could have if he shifted his mindset!

At the same event, I spoke with the president of a major energy company about his company’s difficulty attracting young professionals.

“We have the best benefits in the country,” he said. “We pay the best, and our long-timers have been here for their entire careers. We should have a pile of resumes.”

He reasoned that this must be due to a lack of talent and a lack of education in science, technology, engineering and math. While this may be true, to some degree, I also know of companies like SPARC that are attracting some of the country’s very best talent in the same industry.

What’s the difference? Mindset! While the energy-company exec is focused on the scarcity of resources, John Smith, chief evangelist officer at SPARC, is looking for ways to add value to the lives and careers of his employees, asking questions like:

  • What really matters to people looking for employment?
  • How can we create an environment that fosters their success?
  • Why would they want to stay here?
  • Why would they want to work hard and think big?
  • How can we ensure we’ve created the best work environment, based on their desires?

Those with a scarcity mindset are afraid of giving up their rigid beliefs, so they waste time complaining about how hard it is to find talented people.

Those with an abundance mindset provide their teams with so many opportunities to develop their skills that the employees return the favor by helping with recruiting (and, of course, working hard to accomplish the mission).

Join the Conversation

What kind of mindset do you have? Are you focused on scarcity, or are you collaborating to benefit everyone? What is the mindset of the people around you?

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

Misti on Google+

5 thoughts on “Playing Scarce

  1. Shaun Callahan

    If you look at top athletes compete, you see them embrace each other at the end of the game/match/race and show mutual respect for a game will played. Unfortunately, for a lot if wanna-be atheletes, competition means painting your face or chest and trash-talking the visiting team about how you are going to crush them and if their team happens to lose, they turn on the referees or talk trash about their own players. Much of this winner take all mentality drives their approach to business as well.

    We need more abundant thinking Olympic atheletes in the market and less washed-up high school atheletes who spend most if there focus on beating others rather then simply playing hard and serving their clients well.

    Reply
    • Misti Burmeister Post author

      Excellent comment, Shaun – Thank you! What’s needed to make this transition happen?

      Reply
  2. Wendy

    Unfortunately, we only see the and hear about the Lance Armstrong, Enron, type of leaders. Where can we hear more great stories of collaborative leaders?

    Reply

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