I’m reading a great book given to me by my niece for Christmas: Give and Take, by Adam Grant. Grant is just one of those brilliant people: the youngest full professor at the Wharton School, as well as the highest-rated teacher of the bunch.
In his book, he speaks about how givers, over time, develop a strong network and achieve more success. “Givers work in ways that not only contribute to their own success, but also contribute to the success around them.”
I love this, partly because this idea has come to me fairly recently. I always felt that I was giving, but not getting anything in return. Why should we give and give, and never receive? In business, though, it often takes time to make good connections with people who will become loyal and consistent clients. Giving is an ongoing process that has to develop within our own style, and must be practiced with consistency. Personally, I’ve often given free legal advice, and felt that I was taken advantage of, only to find out that the contact gave my name to three others who provided me with business! While I didn’t ask for this, or expect it, it was my giving action that precipitated the other to act in the same manner. Giving begets giving.
The idea of giving not only applies to clients, but also to co-workers. Being helpful and giving to others sometimes can make you the one in the office who gets to do everything (lucky you!). (Of course, we have to recognize the fine line between giving and being taken advantage of.) But for those of us who see giving as a benefit, we will soon find that others will do the same for us. When someone recognizes that you go above and beyond, that you will go out of your way to give, or help, it is amazing how this can be reciprocated. And then: both of you are successful, having each contributed to the other’s accomplishments, as well as the overall goals of the firm. We begin to realize that giving to others, just for giving’s sake, without any thought of reciprocity or reward, is a great action to take, in and of itself. It’s collaborative. It makes us feel good, and allows us to share our gifts and knowledge with others.
Call to action: If you’re interested in assessing your own style (giver, taker, matcher), head over to Adam’s website at www.adamgrant.net. There’s a self-assessment quiz that will provide some insight on how you interact with others. Some of the questions are thought-provoking, as we consider our own (and others’) motivations. As always, let me know your results in the comments below.
If you like this post, please share it! And please visit my website and subscribe to my blog at www.thejoyfullawyer.com.