My partner, Jennifer, just wrote a great article, Harness the Power of Team, for CPA Insider, and I’ve been reflecting on her ideas and what’s missing in teams today. In her article, Jennifer expressed, “It saddens me to see how little teamwork exists anymore… Instead, we focus on ourselves or our microcosm, competing internally for people, clients, recognition, money and more to ensure that our goals are met and our turf is protected.” Jennifer goes on to explore eight “rules of engagement” for teams and I want to offer a possible context or foundation in which to build on these eight rules and that is the context of abundance.
When we internally compete, we are coming from a context of scarcity rather than abundance. When From scarcity, there are never enough resources, fear of not enough work, vying for recognition or credit, or blame and finger-pointing for a lack of results. I find teams that are coming from scarcity focus on their efforts on “fighting” each other – for the “best” person to be on their team, that next sale, accolades or public kudos – to the detriment of what’s right for the team as a whole, individual team members, the client and the firm.
So, if you were to build a team that comes from abundance – which might be one of the team’s agreed upon values that Jennifer refers to – how would your team members think if they were abundant thinkers?
- Abundant thinkers give selflessly – They are connected to their feelings of love or affection that they have for others in the world and are committed to others’ well-being and success without wanting anything in return. As a result, abundant thinkers attract positive, fulfilling, and reciprocal relationships in their life and work teams, where both parties help contribute positively to one another's lives – or in the case of a team, contributing positively to the individual team members and the greater good of the team.
- Abundant thinkers are more positive and happier – They are grateful and appreciate all the blessings in their lives, including their team members, their clients and the difference they get to make in their jobs. Abundant thinkers focus on what is possible while striving towards both personal and team goals. And, in the process, abundant thinkers do identify areas that need improvement, but from the perspective that the glass is half full and building upon what is already there rather than the glass if half empty and constantly complaining or pointing out what’s not working.
- Abundant thinkers focus on the future – If you keep focusing on the past – what’s not working, what you don’t have, or the way you wish things could be – how are you ever going to make change happen? My colleague, Michelle Baca, summed it well in last week’s blog, How Often Do You Look in the Rear-View Mirror?, “…be honest with yourself about how constructive your “backward looking” time is – when it stops being productive – stop looking in the rear-view mirror.” Instead of looking backwards all of the time, focus your energy on the future and how you can change your situation.
Bottom line, abundance is a mindset and you can determine the context for your team. Abundant thinkers focus on being a contribution, are positive and grateful and focus on future solutions. Scarcity thinkers focus on what they don’t have (or don't have enough of), what they might lose, and what hasn’t worked. Which are you?