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« More on Valuations and Mergers | Main | Broken Windows Theory of Management – Part 1 »

Plenty to go around

Since I’m still in the holiday spirit I thought I’d let my warm and fuzzy side out for another stroll… always a scary and unpredictable affair.  As many have noted, the beer business changed more in 2008 than in the sum of the past 40 years.  Truly a time of astounding change.  Where will it all lead?  Who can really know?  Will things get better or worse?  The most certain answer is yes.


But rather than fret over things over which we have no control, why not take a brief respite and think about changing the only person on the planet which we can most assuredly change… ourselves.  I ask you to consider making a liberating leap of faith… a change in your personal and professional way of thinking… a change from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of there is plenty to go around.  One of the speakers at last year’s NBWA convention spoke of this… and the incredible liberation (and business and personal success it can drive) in making this mental adjustment.


A mindset of scarcity sees the world as a very fixed and static place… where one person’s gain must almost by definition be accompanied by another person’s loss.  It is a battleground where there isn’t enough for all and everything must be fought over… with the goal being to “win”, because the alternative is to “lose”.  This mindset will permeate every action and thought one might have… whether managing employees, dealing with other wholesalers and suppliers, or even deciding where to take the family to dinner.  It is an incredibly limiting mindset… and on closer analysis in most situations it is fundamentally flawed and in no way reflects reality.


An alternative state of mind is simply stated as “there is plenty to go around”.  The “plenty to go around” mindset (PTGA) sees the world as a dynamic, growing, and bountiful place where one person’s gain can quite often be accompanied by another person’s gain.  A win-win world of possibilities rather than a win-lose world of constant struggle… see, I told you once you let the warm and fuzzy out, you never know where it will lead ;-)


In my consulting world, rather than fighting for each job instead I reach out and join hands with my associate Steve Cook, turning one plus one into a net plus four… there is plenty to go around.  Think of the beverage alcohol industry… locked in a mindset of scarcity.  The spirits folk’s primary goal seems to be to raise taxes on the beer folks.  It won’t directly help them but it will hurt the beer folks… thereby indirectly helping spirits… talk about blinded by a scarcity frame of mind!  If you lose then I might gain!!  So very limiting and in the end, so very ineffective and counter-productive.  Think of the change if the beer, wine, and spirits suppliers instead had a mindset of PTGA.  The entire regulatory, taxation and competitive landscape would change overnight… to everyone’s benefit.  But I won’t hold my breath for this one to happen.


But how about things we can change… the beer distributors around the country.  Very few wholesalers want to leave this industry.  This is completely understandable on a number of fronts; personal, financial, professional.  And of course everyone is a buyer and no one is a seller… which makes it really difficult to get deals done ;-)   And thus we are stuck in a scarcity mindset… a you must lose for me to win straightjacket.


Liberate your mind to a PTGA way of thinking… and a whole world of options materializes.  As a single example, rather than being in a death struggle to outlast the guy(s) you want to purchase… perhaps a win-win course of action is possible.  Many who have taken the leap to PTGA find that mergers are a natural response to this liberation.  EVERYONE makes more money.  EVERYONE’s business becomes stronger, more powerful and more viable… creating business entities which will survive long into the future.  EVERYONE wins… continuing to share in the rewards of this industry for generations to come.  What a concept!


Of course the nature of the asset changes in a merger… it is no longer solely “yours”… you now own a piece of a much larger, stronger entity.  This is the leap from scarcity to PTGA… from “I want it all for myself!” to there is plenty to go around... and we all win in the process.  Entire state-wide entities, even multi-state monsters become possibilities… with everyone winning. 


Concerned about jobs for your children?  Why?  These merged entities will be much larger… there will be plenty of job opportunities for all… with far superior advancement possibilities for every single employee.  Want to pay your worthless son-in-law a hundred thousand more than he’s worth?  - sorry to all the son-in-laws out there ;-)  Again, no problem… it can be taken care of.  Concerned about your position as an owner?  Don’t.  With a PTGA frame of mind, all of the principals and their desires can be taken care of… often with surprising ease.


Even if a merger isn’t in the cards for you… and they are not remotely right for everyone… tremendous value can be gaining with a little PTGA thinking.  It all starts with a little leap of faith… it’s all in your mind… is everything a scarce commodity or is there plenty to go around?  Your answer to this question can and will have a profound impact on your personal and professional life.  It’s just past the holidays and the start of a brand new year… a perfect time to take a leap. 


Well enough of that… I’ve better get back to caring for sick kittens and injured song birds… danged warm and fuzzy!  ;-) 


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