I am quite drawn to this “Scarcity vs. Abundance Management” chart, which I’ve replicated from a recent Wired Magazine article, on how people environments work differently when they perceive themselves to be working in Scarcity as opposed to Abundance.
I think this phenomenon happens in networks and partnerships as well. Scarcity-thinking partnerships assume only permitted actions are allowed. Abundance-thinking partnerships assume all actions are allowed unless some particular action has had to be forbidden.
Abundance-thinking partnerships continually reinforce that we are all equals; there is no “boss” in the partnership. On the other end, Scarcity-thinking partnerships devolve authority into a tight group that believes it knows what’s better for everyone.
Though partnerships don’t operate with a profit plan, Scarcity-partnerships build more rigid approaches that attempt to plan every element in advance. Abundance-thinking partnerships are able to figure out emerging situations as they go along.
These lead to top-down and command-and-control approaches in process and structure for Scarcity-minded partnerships, while Abundance-minded partnerships cherish bottom-up process and a structure that seems, at times, out-of-control.
What has been your experience with partnerships? Are they driven by a sense of scarcity or abundance?