Giving and Success

Are You a Giver or a Taker? (from the Leading Blog) explores three types of people at work:  givers, takers, and matchers, defined in this description of the book Give and Take:

Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Now, you may wonder which term describes you, and you may also wonder which type fares better at work.  That’s where things get interesting:

Research shows that givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder. Givers may make others better off, but they do so at their own expense.

But here’s the thing, givers also land at the top of the ladder with takers and matchers in the middle. Adam Grant explores in Give and Take, what separates givers at the bottom and top. And the difference is not competence, but the kinds of strategies givers use and the choices they make.

Grant notes that in “purely zero-sum situations and win-lose interactions, giving rarely pays off…. But most of life isn’t zero-sum.”

The giver advantage is often hard to see in the short term because the “giver advantage grows over time.” Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels, explains, “Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.”

Kind of cool, isn’t it?  So, you can get near the top by being cut-throat (a “taker”), but you can really get to the top by asking for, and giving help (being a “giver”).  At least according to Grant.  I like the idea.  What do you think?

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