According to Adam Grant’s research in his book Give and Take, the most successful people in business are high givers, and so are the least successful. Success comes by adding two criteria that make all the difference in the world ...
First of all, successful people look after themselves. I was discussing this recently with someone who had returned from a stint volunteering in a major crisis.
They remarked on how they were instructed not to give up their own rations to the people they were helping as they would not be able to help unless they stayed fit themselves. When it comes to business, the more successful you are, the more resources you will have to help others.
With this in mind, successful people focus on giving to other givers. A reality of being human is that there are givers and takers and nowhere does this apply more than in business. In evolutionary terms, a group of pure takers soon disintegrates as there is no one left to take from.
On the other hand, a group of givers is vulnerable to a maverick taker stepping in to take advantage without contributing. So the successful givers are those that are tuned in and able to spot other givers while avoiding the takers.
Giving to other givers in business completes the circles between individuals and within groups. I give to you so you are more successful, which means you’re able to reciprocate, which makes me more successful, which means I’m better positioned to help you be more successful ... and so on.
If we apply that to a network, then our success spreads exponentially! I give to you, which enables you to give to me and X and Y, who are then able to help you and me and each other ... giving to takers, on the other hand, is a dead end for both of us, as eventually, they exhaust my resources and I can no longer give.
Now, if you want to be in the circle and be amongst the most successful people in business, it pays to recognise other high givers and focus your efforts on giving to them.
You could wait until they give you something, but if we all did that we end up in a standoff, just waiting for the other person to make the first move. You could just give and take a chance to see if they reciprocate. A good strategy, but you could be feeding the taker in your midst.
Alternatively, you could start sussing out the givers by their behaviours. What do high givers do that demonstrates they are high givers? Here’s a short check list:
- They have time - for you and others.
- They show an interest - in what you and others are doing. Their responses show they’ve listened.
- They share their expertise - they are generous without being excessive, giving appropriate help for the nature of your relationship and your need.
- They give you honest feedback, not sycophancy - They volunteer where they add knowledge and skills.
- They acknowledge others expertise - they ask for and accept help from others. An often overlooked part of giving is allowing other givers to give back. They publically acknowledge the support they’ve had and they endorse and recommend others.
- They celebrate other's success - they get satisfaction from seeing other succeed as well as themselves. They talk about people other than themselves.
- They are inclusive - they introduce people to people, including others where there is no direct benefit to them, just because they can.
- They help out when times get tough - these are the people who stick around and help out when others run into trouble. They encourage and give moral as well as practical support.
If your inner circle is a group of people like this then business not only becomes easier but it is so much more pleasant too!
I want to finish with a health warning: Beware the taker in disguise! The more manipulative takers (think of some famously unpleasant people in politics and high-profile business scandals) will present themselves as givers to win trust. I call them the taker-fakers.
As humans, we are hard wired to be good cheat detectors at an instinctive level. So pay attention to that gut reaction that something just doesn’t feel genuine and check it out.
Two good indicators, in my opinion, to flush out the taker-faker is how often they promote themselves in their giving. Does their conversation somehow always end up being about them getting something from you? With a real giver, you usually find out about their generosity not from them, but from other people.
If you'd like to know how to spot the givers and learn more about developing your referral network, why not call me on 07970 638857 or click here to send me an email enquiry and let's grab a coffee and see how I can help you.
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.