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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    mindset

    An Abundance Mindset

    In Peter Diamandis’ book, Abundance, he tells the story of the discovery of aluminum. According to the tale, around 2,000 years ago, a goldsmith brought an unusual dinner plate to the court of the Emperor Tiberius. It was made from a shiny, lightweight, bright new metal that was the color of silver. The goldsmith said that he had used a secret formula to extract this new metal from clay. Tiberius was very interested in it because he had a massive amount of gold and silver as a result of his many conquests across Europe. He believed that if this goldsmith helped others to extract this rare new metal from mere clay, it could substantially decrease the value of his fortune. Rather than risk that happening, he had the goldsmith beheaded.

    Aluminum did not reappear until around 1825 when once again, a complex process for extracting the metal was discovered. Since then, technology has improved the process so much that the price has been drastically reduced and it is easily available. You see, aluminum itself isn’t rare; it’s the third most plentiful element on earth and represents 8.3% of the weight of the world. There’s an abundance of aluminum, but it was initially scarce due to the difficulty in accessing it.

     

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    Abundance Vs. Scarcity

    The Emperor Tiberius had a scarcity mindset. He feared loss of position and power from this precious new metal that he knew little about. Individuals with a scarcity mindset focus on lack and insufficiency and therefore make decisions based on what’s best for themselves, even at the expense of others.


    Had he known the abundance of aluminum as compared to gold (all the gold that has ever been mined would only fill about one-third of the Washington Monument), he might have made a different decision, and somehow harnessed the power of aluminum for his benefit. Individuals with an abundance mindset focus on having an extremely plentiful supply, more than enough to go around.

    This mindset of abundance versus scarcity plays out in other ways in our lives. As we face challenges and opportunities in our work, our mindset will dictate the approach we take and impact the results we achieve. It will dictate whether we are inclusive in our approach to problems in a way that invites cross-functional perspectives, and solicits inputs from others who may not normally be involved in particular issues. Abundance thinking invites new ideas and possibilities. It provides a foundation for innovation and creativity based on a positive outlook for the future; and is the basis for solving many of the difficulties we face today. This mindset drives our behaviors.

    WeWork

    A modern day example of behaviors that support an abundance mindset is WeWork, a four year old company that provides co-working office space, primarily targeted at startups and younger companies who want (and need) heavy interaction. They lease large blocks of office space and subdivide it into smaller parcels; then charge monthly memberships to businesses who want to work, network and share ideas in a collaborative environment. All office services are provided and planned activities enable them to pitch ideas, gain business from one another, and share advice. The founders, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, each grew up in communal living (in Israel and Eugene, OR respectively) and thus saw the value of a shared and collaborative environment.

    With 31 locations, 15,000+ members and estimated gross earnings of $150 million this year, they have a current valuation of $1.5 billion, with plans to grow 3 to 4 times that size over the next year. In short, there’s a heavy demand (and a waiting list) for this type of working environment. And the companies that rent this space recognize that collaborating and sharing increases their value.

    Your Abundance

    As we consider our U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations over the past week, hopefully this has been a time of reflecting on the abundance in our lives. It also provides an opportunity to enhance our perspective on where we exhibit abundance or scarcity in our mindset and behaviors. It’s not simply about accumulation of financial reserves, friends, or material goods. It’s the way we approach life and behave.

    Abundance is driven by a mindset of considering future possibilities.

           Scarcity is driven by mindset of complacency with the current state.

    Abundance suggests sharing because there will always be enough to go around.

           Scarcity suggests hoarding what you have.

    Abundance mindsets look for creative opportunities to integrate with the work of others.

           Scarcity mindsets believe there is little opportunity for improvement on their work.

    Abundance thinkers focus on adding value to others first, and thus add value to themselves.

           Scarcity thinkers focus on promoting oneself first, and thus overlook the value of others.

    So be abundant in your mindset.

     

    References:

    Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. www.Abundancethebook.com

    Read the story of WeWork in Forbes Magazine here.

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    From Irritation to Innovation

    Elizabeth Holmes hates needles.  To her, the idea of being poked by a needle and withdrawing blood is more than just unpleasant.  When she knows that she has to give blood, she becomes consumed and overcome with the thought until it’s finally over.

    So it should be no surprise that at age 19 she founded Theranos, a ground-breaking blood diagnostics company that 11 years later is worth more than $9 billion. The company has patented its secret technology of performing 200 different blood tests (soon growing to over 1,000 different tests) without using a syringe.  They use a few drops of blood drawn using a finger stick to minimize discomfort, and collected in a “nanotainer”; a container the size of an electric fuse. Her board is stocked with powerful blue chip members including former cabinet secretaries, former U.S. senators and former military brass. Theranos’ innovative technology is poised to transform health care technology at no more than half the cost of similar tests using current technology.

    Holmes leveraged a process that irritated her to innovate a new method of getting it done.

    ??????????????????Productive Dissatisfaction

    Tony Fadell was building a vacation home for his family.  One of the seemingly mundane decisions was selecting thermostats, but he wasn’t satisfied with his choices. So he developed the Nest Learning Thermostat, a digital and WiFi enabled device that conserves energy by learning its owners’ habits. He also designed the Nest Protect which uses new technology to detect smoke and carbon monoxide.

    Fadell’s real goal is to use technology to redesign and control all technology in the home.  He was successful in raising startup capital as a result of his Apple pedigree, and extensive connections in Silicon Valley. He previously led the team that created the iPod, thereby rejuvenating Apple and transforming the music industry (yes, I love iTunes), and assisted in the development of the iPhone. Fadell left Apple in 2008 (along with his wife who was an HR executive there) and his thermostat irritation became the epiphany to innovate his next career move. As evidence of his success, Nest was purchased by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion.


    Innovation Mindset

    Holmes and Fadell were irritated by processes and technology that others accepted as status quo. Obviously this wasn’t just a minor irritation either. Most of us would have dismissed it, avoided it, complained a bit while it was on our minds, then moved on to what we believed were more important things. We would think that change wasn’t needed, or that technology couldn’t effectively be applied to it and scaled for use. Instead, they saw it as a challenge and took the opportunity to do something about it. They had a mindset for innovation that they applied to their environment.

    At the time, Holmes was a sophomore at Stanford, and according to her chemical engineering professor, viewed complex technical problems differently than other students.  She dropped out shortly thereafter and persuaded her parents to invest her education fund into the business start-up.

    Fadell’s tenure at Apple was distinguished by asking lots of questions, challenging Steve Jobs, and building his network in the “valley” outside the company; something normally reserved for Jobs himself. He didn’t conform to the typical concept of the Apple executive.

    The Key to Innovation

    So what is the key to your innovation?  What is it that irritates you, but you find it difficult to simply walk away or ignore it. Instead, you keep trying to figure it out. This may be your opportunity to move from irritation to innovation; to find new approaches to address old ways of doing things. Though Holmes and Fadell applied innovation on a large scale, you can easily do this within a smaller sphere of influence; in your work team, organization, community group or family. Here are a few simple steps.

    1. Tap into what’s irritating you.  What problem needs to be solved? Chances are it’s right in front of you.
    2. Find the benefit. Who will it add value to? Identifying your stakeholders will help you to target what action to take, and encourage you to stick with it for their benefit.
    3. Ignore the naysayers. What do you believe is possible? If you don’t have faith in yourself, no one else will either.
    4. Identify all the assumptions associated with the status quo. Why do people do it this way? Calling them out individually helps to break the innovation opportunity down into workable sizes for better analysis.
    5. Methodically challenge each assumption. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?  By the time you’ve asked “why” five times, you’ll uncover some suppositions that really don’t have a strong foundation.
    6. Think of a new approach. What if we did it this way instead?  Then think of another different approach.  This practice gets you into the mode of change.

    If you’re really irritated, true innovation will typically involve transformation, not evolution. It will yield a totally unexpected outcome that represents a leap ahead, not just a step forward.  So embrace that impatience and exasperation with the current situation, and press forward to a new mindset of innovation.

    Read the articles on Elizabeth Holmes and Tony Fadell in the June 12, 2014 issue of Fortune.

    Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

     

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