Nice guys finish last. No good deed goes unpunished. It’s a dog eat dog world!
We often repeat these adages reacting to challenges we face while working or even playing with others. But are they really true?
Adam Grant’s new book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, dispels the myth that nice guys are underachievers. He examines the importance of relationships and connections in both personal and professional settings. His focus is not just on making connections but on being generous with those connections. One might say: being the nice guy.
Today’s increased focus on teamwork, networking, and strong social systems has changed the dynamic both at work and at home. We interact with others more often and for more reasons. Simply, we need each other.
However, each interaction creates a choice. We choose how we communicate and collaborate with others:
- Do we contribute our talents and skills without worrying about what we get in return? Do we give what we have with no expectation of reward?
- Do we claim as much credit as we can? Do we take from individuals or the group as a whole for own benefit or promotion?
- Do we contribute and support others in accordance with how we see others’ contributing? Do we match what we give with what we get?
In Give and Take, Grant examines three styles of social interaction. Giving, Taking and Matching describe a range of reciprocity behaviors used in various interactions. We tend to shift our styles depending on our situation, setting, relationships, or even our audience. Adam Grant provides the research to support the positive impact and benefits of giving in most circumstances. Despite our instinct to take or match in competitive atmospheres, the data show that givers rise to the top. Give and Take unveils the principles of giver success.
Adam Grant explores giving in four key domains: networking, collaborating, evaluating, and influencing. He provides true (sometimes familiar) stories and studies of how individuals reaped unexpected advantages by unconditionally providing resources, contacts, support, time, and energy with the sole purpose of helping another person.Finding the Diamond in the Rough
Did you know that the most successful entrepreneurs, sales people, coaches, doctors, teachers, lawyers, managers, and even television writers are identified as givers? Give and Take looks at the impact of givers in the various leadership positions. They provide motivation for staff, mentees, and students to remain interested, overcome challenges and to continue to work hard and achieve. Givers actually cultivate grit by encouraging already dedicated students/staff to continue to strive for excellence! They see the potential for achievement and demonstrate commitment to those they lead.
Grant points out that both the most successful and the least successful tend to be givers. He explores what makes the difference.
Give and Take is not a ostrich-in-the-sand view of generosity. Grant reminds us not to confuse pleasantness with giving or grumpiness with taking. Givers and takers are found in all dispositions. Can you think of someone who might be called a grumpy giver? Perhaps a friendly or pleasant taker? Grant also presents vital information about overcoming the giver doormat effect by being sure to seek gains for all parties. Giving should not be at the cost of others, including the giver.
Actions for Impact
In the true nature of a giver, Adam Grant’s final chapter provides examples of practical actions to help the reader get started in applying the principles described in the book. Grant describes ways to fine tune your giving as well as ways to incorporate more giving into your daily routine. He even suggests ways to find more like-minded givers!Give and Take looks at the importance of giving as the reciprocity style for a variety of fields. This intuitive book should be required reading for educators, lawyers, medical professionals, and business people. It dispels the myth that success requires demonstrating power over others and that the world leaves givers behind. The principles of Give and Take can be applied to any relationship both professionally and personally. Applying these principles could build stronger communities, businesses, organizations, and even neighborhoods!
Adam Grant provides the perfect combination of storytelling and research to enable the reader to apply the principles of Give and Take. He provides the groundwork for shifting society’s fundamental ideas about how to succeed!
Grant, R. (2013). Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. Viking Adult.