Leadership Win: Turning Scarcity into More than Enough

Long-time client Dale L. who, in his day job, is VP Engineering for a division of a large software company, sent me the following email. I love hearing people’s “wins.” I asked his permission to share it with you.  We’ve changed the name of his city…

I am on the “Anyville-USA” Parks and Rec Commission. I am also the president of “Anyville-USA” Area Youth Soccer.

The soccer club is bigger than ever. At last night’s board meeting, we had 19 volunteers in leadership positions. (Everyone should try to lead a volunteer group – its good for the community and a great way to learn about leadership.)

For the parks and rec department, there has been stagnation in using park land for youth sports. Why? Sure, budgets are constrained. But was that really the road block? No. I think it has been scarcity thinking.

I took a page from one of your books and started posing the challenge as “There is enough for everyone. Now, how are we fair and smart? Who has what resources to apply to make things happen?” So far much alignment progress has been made and defenses have been lowered. Football needs more space? No problem. Girls softball? Bring them on.

Turns out there is plenty of space and someone just needed to challenge the whole scarcity and win/lose thinking that had resulted in grid lock. The story will unfold for the next 18 months, but it seems like a good start.

Thanks for planting the ideas many years ago. They jumped out, once again, at just the right time.

What are the takeaways from this story? Here’s three:

  1. Big breakthroughs come from situations that appear the most scarce
  2. Scarcity isn’t a law, it’s a thought
  3. Anyone can notice and turn scarcity thinking into expansive opportunity

And a poke: Where are you noticing only lack or scarcity? What if that weren’t the only thought?

Posted in Leadership, Responsibility, Teamwork on 04/09/2009 09:57 am
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