In live performances of “Stairway to Heaven” Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant asks the question: “Does anybody remember laughter?” In considering today’s Cautious New World (a.k.a. the new normal), I offer a new version of Plant’s question: “Does anybody remember abundance?” This revised question serves to raise our awareness about what’s happening with our collective psyche in the world of commerce. How has decision making changed? With today’s reduced optimism, Robert Plant might conclude today:
“We’re buying a stairway to scarcity“.
That figurative purchase is not helping our cause. In fact, our scarcity mindset is the cause. As leaders, we need to understand it and adjust.
Abundance vs. Scarcity
The opposite of an abundance mindset is scarcity thinking. We can either believe that there is more than enough to go around or that there isn’t. And in this “new normal“, there are good reasons for being sucked over to the dark side of scarcity attitudes. To borrow from the Righteous Brothers’ lyrics: “We’ve lost that abundant feeling.” As a result, it is more challenging than ever to create value.
The Downward Spiral
In addition to enhanced cautiousness, one of the outcomes of scarcity mindset is the pursuit of win-lose scenarios. When we embrace the belief that the only way for us to win is for someone else to lose, we stop creating value. When we stop creating value, we continue to feed the downward spiral.
What’s a Leader to Do?
While leaders are being pressured to become more fiscally responsible, there is danger in becoming penny wise and dollar foolish. Cutting costs is one thing. Cutting investments in value creating initiatives is another. The key is to carefully avoid investment paralysis and look for ways to reduce the risk of your key investments. Abundance thinking should not be confused with foolish spending. Our challenge is find new ways to change our attitudes toward investing in realistic possibilities.
Making it Easier to Buy in a Cautious New World
Making it easy for your customers to buy used to involve enhanced features like easier access, expanded hours, on-line ordering or better communication of your value. In our cautious new world, we need to redefine purchasing ease by minimizing or reversing the risk involved with buying your product or service. What better way to enable value creation? Have you considered promoting your offerings by promoting some form of…
- A new, risk reversing guarantee
- Buy now, pay later
- Try before you buy
- Flexible payment terms
While these ideas are not new, they are proven, time tested ways to address perceived risk. Might there be new ways for you to apply them to promote abundance, win-win thinking to break the value creation stalemate with your prospective customers?
Overcoming Risk Related Gridlock
When scarcity thinking has caused a risk gridlock, ask yourself…
- Can we challenge our suppliers to reverse our risk and thereby help us fund value generating investments from found money? Can they back up their claims with enough confidence in their ability to deliver with some creative flexibility with their terms?
- How can we make it easier to buy from us by reducing their risk? Can we back our claims with similar confidence by being more flexible or taking more of the risk?
- Might our customers increase their investments in our products or services once they believe their risks are reduced?
You’re invited to share your creative ideas to bring back that abundant feeling with your comments.
Or, if you’d like to connect and discuss these concepts further, I offer a…