Skip to main content

Overcome the Culture of Scarcity, by Barbara Weaver Smith

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by bweaversmith

In my new book, Whale Hunting Women, I've written about three cultural transformations that will help people and organizations to be successful in the 21st century economy. One of these transformations is to overcome the culture of scarcity by adopting the mindset of abundance.

The 20th century business world cultivated a culture of scarcity. Because it was built on a model of warfare [that's where strategy comes from, right?], it implied winners and losers. The most dangerous attitude of scarcity was within a single company, where managers or VPs had to compete internally for resources. A corporate culture in which the parts are fighting against the whole is not a healthy or fast-growth culture.

The scarcity mindset is a perception that there is only so much of whatever to go around. And if someone gets more, someone else will have to get less. Each one is out to preserve his or her own resource. Even if you work alone or with a very small team, the scarcity mindset causes fear. Fear of saying no; fear of making strong decisions based on where you want to go rather than weak decisions in case nothing better shows up.

In contrast, we can cultivate a culture of abundance–a mindset that resources are constantly created; therefore they are essentially infinite. This engine that drove American culture since our founding, and it is the mindset we need today. I don't mean that natural resources can't be depleted. But I do mean that whatever we need, new resources can be invented and brought to market. New markets will come into being. Existing markets will have new needs, and entrepreneurs will bring new products and services that have scarcely been dreamed about before.

Life in the culture of scarcity is a finite game. But life in the culture of abundance is an infinite game. The more you play, and the more people you engage in your game, the bigger the game becomes. Here's a tip. The Inuit people, who hunted whales every spring, believed that the whales were reborn each year. It was their explanation for the cycle of migration.

Is your success mindset one in which your deals are continually reborn?

To learn about Whale Hunting Women & to order your copy today, visit

Thank you for visiting this post about Barbara Weaver Smith and Whale Hunting Women.

No votes yet
Bookmark and Share