Author, speaker, ENTREPRENEUR, Coach, and Consultant
This blog is going to deviate slightly from my normal focus on Goal setting, but it is a completely relevant topic as I will explain. This blog is about the concept of “Be a Builder Not a Feeder”. There are many references to this concept in our world, in the Science world they refer to it as being a Consumer vs. a Producer, and in other references, you may hear it stated as a Consumer vs. a Contributor. Regardless of the verbiage used, the idea is one person or group of people is contributing to the whole or being a “Builder”, while someone else is taking without making any meaningful, if any, contribution to the whole, this is the “Feeder”.
In the Sales organizations that I have worked with over the years, we always encouraged this concept. However, it was about 10 years ago when I heard this phrase, used this way, and have since made it an integral component to my leadership coaching. This terminology was used to support the concept that, you’re either someone who has innovative ideas, suggestions, or best practices, that you are providing to the group. In a way that everyone could benefit from them, or you keep them all to yourself, don’t share, and consequently, don’t truly contribute to the team. This is very short-sighted and hardly a good leadership quality.
Someone who is a “Feeder”, often has innovative ideas but then keeps the ideas to themselves and doesn’t share to the collective whole. This philosophy is often born out of a scarcity mentality, that there is only so much to go around. Now, for the average sales person, this doesn’t sound that “Machiavellian”, and on the surface, for a sales person, it’s not that destructive. However, the scarcity mentality is ever present and constantly lingering in people’s minds, even those who practice staying focused on the abundance that is available. So, hoarding and not sharing best practices just reinforces that you need an edge to beat everyone, rather than doing and providing your best and letting the cards fall where they may.
The best analogy I came up with to demonstrate the attitude here was; if you are truly a competitive person, wouldn’t you want to beat someone at their best, rather than to beat them on their bad day? I’m a very competitive person, but if I knew someone was letting me win, I could find no celebration in that win. A “Feeder” doesn’t consider this and would rather win at all costs, this certainly could include falling down the slippery slope of integrity trade-offs. Ultimately cheating to win or at minimum cutting corners that lead to poor customer service or leading to a bad name. Scarcity mentality is an attitude that can eat you up from the inside out.
On the other hand, a “Builder” operates from an abundance mentality, and believes that for the best results, everyone should work together. Sharing what is working for everyone and more importantly allowing everyone to recognize the successes collectively. Now, don’t misunderstand me, this is not socialism. I’m not suggesting moving away from competition, because competition leads to some of the best innovation. However, a builder knows that a team of people working together, even if competing against one another on one level, will find far more success and innovation from collaborating with other “Builders” on the team, thus leading to far better results.
Additionally, “Builders” make the best leaders. The have had success and know how to not only share the great ideas, as well as the value of that practice, but they also understand that when the successes come, they know how to share the accolades as well. A well run or operated team will openly discuss and share what makes them successful, then work together to leverage those practices to achieve even better success. Finally, when the rewards are recognized, the appreciation is shared and although the individual competition may lead to a clear winner, a “Builder” will recognize their peers as having helped them achieve their goals. Either through shear competition, which lead to the best performance, or through collaborative innovation that allowed the winner to beat their competition.
Being a “Builder” rather than a “Feeder”, is the equivalent of taking the high road and looking for the best for everyone in each situation, this leads to better coaching and development, better negotiations, and most importantly to a better environment to learn and grow from. A “Builder” will find the positives and look for the best solutions and a “Feeder” will certainly look for the excuses and point blame. The “Builder” will be the ideal problem solver and the “Feeder” will be the blame finder.
Now you may be asking, what does this have to do with Goal setting Eric? Well, let me ask you, how effective do you really think you would be in setting and achieving massive goals, if you had a "Feeder" mentality? A scarcity mentality, that looks for all the things wrong with something. Compared to someone who is a "Builder", who has an abundance mentality. Someone who leads in such a way that he or she has the best people working and collaborating with them to achieve the best results? When you ask like that, it is quite obvious what the better option would be, right?
To sum up this blog, I encourage everyone to look at their lives and think about how they can focus on how they can be a better “Contributor” or “Builder” as the world needs more people like this. Every growing organization needs more people trying to find the good and “what’s right” with a company, rather than someone who finds all the faults and doesn’t contribute to the organization. Whether it’s your company, a social group, a community involvement group, your church, any collection of people attempting to achieve or improve results for any outcome.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Eric Whitmoyer: Entrepreneur, Consultant, Speaker, Coach and Author
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