After today’s session of the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, I have a new business guru to add to my pantheon of Collins, Lencioni, and Greeny. Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton Business School, began his presentation this morning by saying that his original research dealt with the causes of paranoia in organizations. Having been part of a number of organizations and having had occasional inclinations to paranoia, I was hooked.
Grant explained that most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Takers strive to get more than they give from their coworkers, matchers aim to trade evenly with a fair balance of getting and giving, and givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. In the short term, givers may appear to be less productive but in the long term, their generosity pays off with success. For example, the salesperson who does not push the sale of an inferior product may lose the sale, but he or she gains the confidence of the customer who is more likely to return in the future.
As you consider your staff or organizational situation, you may have some ideas of people who fit into each category. Although most Christians may consider themselves Givers, we might be surprised at our style. What is your primary style at work? You can take the Taker, Giver, Matcher self-assessment online for free.
Grant’s book is Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. According to Grant's site, it "was named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal—as well as one of Oprah's riveting reads, Fortune's must-read business books, Harvard Business Review’s ideas that shaped management, and the Washington Post's books every leader should read."