Givers and Takers in Your Company

Posted by JasonBlumeron Jul 12, 2017 in

This was a fascinating TED talk by Adam Grant:

Per the norm for TED talks, Adam's style was funny and engaging, but enlightening on the topic of Takers and Givers in companies. While working with many companies around the country, he noted that company cultures had Givers, Takers, and Matchers. The Givers are always doing for others, the Takers are always out for themselves letting others do most of their work, while the Matchers tend to give and take depending on what has been done to them (e.g. an eye for an eye). But across the board, he noted that all company cultures thrived when the company was loaded with givers. He also pointed out that givers are often taken advantage of in companies, so he asked the question "how can we build cultures where givers excel?"

Here are some points from his talk on how we can help givers excel:

  1. Protect givers from burn out. If they tend to give, then protect them from over-giving, or at least help them know when they over-give.
  2. Encourage help-seeking. Many team members won't ask for help because they don't want to be vulnerable, or they don't want to be seen as incompetent. But givers need people to ask for help. Those who want to give can become frustrated in a culture where they aren't asked to help.
  3. Keep the wrong people off of the bus. Studies show that if you put one taker on a team, the givers will stop giving. So it's not only about bringing givers into a company, but rather keeping the takers out of the company.
  4. Hire givers. If you can filter your hiring process appropriately, see if you can identify givers during the hiring process and get them on the team.
  5. Adopt Pronoia (opposite of paranoia). This is where you think others are going behind your back doing you good! Givers do this, and they can be a huge blessing to companies.

Small businesses, and the world in general, can be a better place with more givers in our lives! Are you a giver or a taker?

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