We love the idea of abundance and promote this concept with our clients.
We see the concept of abundance as both a philosophy and lifestyle.
People who lead an abundant lifestyle see their universe as infinite. They demand win-win scenarios in their personal and professional lives. In their world it is not just acceptable for everyone to succeed…It is an imperative. In our dental communities, abundant leaders do not see other doctors as competition; they consider them colleagues. And a colleague is honored and respected as a friend.
Compare this to a lifestyle of scarcity, or what some call a zero-sum philosophy, in which the universe is viewed as finite. This philosophy requires that for every winner, there must be a loser. Colleagues become competitors from which we must protect ourselves. We believe that somehow they will gain an advantage by taking what is rightfully ours; never considering the possibility that there is enough for all.
The same is true in our own practices. A scarcity or zero sum philosophy is not compatible with effective leadership, because effective leaders are committed to assuring that everyone they lead is given the opportunity and resources to succeed. To an abundant and effective leader, realizing one’s dreams is a universal goal.
Scarcity based leaders commonly believe that their role is to identify and judge others by their weaknesses rather than their strengths. This is a classic lose/lose scenario, which seldom creates a positive result for either party.
Imagine what it would be like working in an office culture based on a scarcity philosophy. An office in which recognition is coveted by the doctor and seldom shared with the members of the team. An office in which the doctor has an emotional need for control, or an environment lacking spontaneity, creativity, or the opportunity for personal development. Recent studies have shown that burnout is most likely to occur when people not only work long hours, but when their long hours offer no opportunity for personal development. These are offices in decline and they will continue their downhill spiral because the burdens created by the doctor’s zero-sum attitude cannot be supported by the weakened cultural infrastructure they have created.
Abundance-based leaders are the antithesis of scarcity-based leaders.
They understand that everyone has weaknesses, but they choose to judge others by their strengths. Their dental practices are always more productive because they utilize individual strengths by positioning their people so they can further develop these strengths while benefiting the practice to the best of their ability. Research has proven that people who routinely utilize their most significant strengths in their daily work are among the most personally satisfied and productive team members.
We have also observed that in organizational cultures that stress abundance and the development of individual strengths, there is a tendency for individual team weaknesses to spontaneously disappear. It is our belief that this unique phenomenon can only occur when failure is viewed as a learning experience and prerequisite for success, thus, giving team members the ability and confidence to openly explore solutions for overcoming weakness without the fear of reprisal.
Now imagine working in an environment in which the doctor attributes achievements to their staff and is the first to accept the blame for failures. What would it be like to work in an organization in which the leader was fully committed and engaged in assuring that everyone reaches their full potential and realizes their individual dreams? This is an organization that will continually thrive.
Abundant cultures are participative as well as being creative and adaptive. They can tap into their vital stream of human potential, which is a prerequisite for a highly productive and culturally mature organization. They promote self-development and self-direction. Such organizations are the icons of their industries.
Herb Kelleher, the untraditional CEO of Southwest Airlines, said this about his organization’s culture: “A financial analyst once asked me if I was afraid of losing control of our organization. I told him I’ve never had control and I never wanted it. If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done, and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchs and control mechanisms you need.”
Is it any wonder that numerous studies have proven that organizations that create cultures based in abundance are significantly more profitable than those organizations whose culture is scarcity-based?
Dr. Joel Small and Dr. Edwin McDonald, the founders of Line of Sight Coaching, are dental practitioners, authors, speakers and Business Leadership Coaches who work with healthcare professionals to help them build more successful practices so they can live the balanced life they seek.
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