Have you got a feast or famine mindset at work? - Michelle Gibbings

In a highly competitive work environment, people often act as though there’s not enough Resources, Rewards or Recognition to go around.

Operating with a famine mindset, people jealously guard their access to the three Rs because they see them as crucial to career success.

The more resources you have the easier it is to get things done.  The more rewards you have the greater the return on investment for your work.  The more recognition you have the easier it is to rise up through the ranks.

Feast or Famine MindsetPeople with this mindset worry that if someone else gets the same amount or more than them it will diminish them in some way.

This has huge implications for how they work, as they approach conversations and negotiations with the intent of getting as much as they can. They are also less willing to collaborate and think about other people’s needs, as the focus is “all about me”.

As the American novelist and poet Wendell Berry said:  If you start a conversation with the assumption that you are right or that you must win, obviously it is difficult to talk. 

In contrast, a person with a feast mindset sees a work environment filled with plenty of opportunity and enough to go around.  

They look to expand relationships and to collaborate with the intent of securing joint outcomes.

Consequently, they aren’t just looking for what they want.  They consider what other people need when they enter conversations and negotiations.

In doing this, they reframe the discussion from “I must win at all costs”, to “How do we both walk away feeling satisfied”. 

By doing this they take the long term view of relationships, and recognise that different people have different needs. They also accept that someone else getting what they need doesn’t mean they need to get less or to lose out.

They adopt a different view of what a successful outcome looks like. 

 Next time you are about to enter a difficult discussion or negotiation ask yourself:

  • What are the other person’s needs?
  • What are my needs?
  • How do we best balance and accommodate both needs?
  • What does a fair outcome look like?
  • What would I want if I was in the other person’s place? 

Answering these questions will give you a good starting point for a conversation that seeks a collaborative and jointly successful outcome.

Change happens. Make it work for you.

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].



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