Getting Ahead by Giving

I am enjoying reading the book, Give and Take by Adam Grant. He is taking on the “greed is good” mentality of some CEOs and business executives, hoping to shape the leaders of tomorrow by teaching them it’s possible to give and still get ahead.

Adam Grant, is one of the youngest and most popular Professors at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton’s School of Business. He is challenging the traditional alpha style of business and is examining the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. In professional interactions, it turns out that most people operate either as takers, matchers or givers. Takers strive to get as much as possible from others while matchers aim to trade evenly. Givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return. Students at the University are flocking to his classes intrigued to learn more.

As he challenges the cultural wisdom that only the strong and self interested survive, his research shows that even though there are many takers at the top of organizations it is the givers that stay on top longer.  This is primarily due to them putting the team’s interest ahead of their own. When this is done the teams will reward the leader by greater status and promotions. In today’s world where there is so much complexity and need for teams to work together across the globe it becomes even more important for leaders to learn new skills, behaviours and techniques that will help them take on the role of givers who are comfortable designing successful collaborative exchanges.

Here is a short video from the Today Show where they interview Adam Grant,

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This week’s “Kingbridge Knowledge Gift”, comes from our Collaboration Institute Strategic Partner, Charles Holmes who has a great technique that can be used to create bridges between individuals when the team has strong differing perspectives.

(Exercise) – Take a flipchart page, fold it in half and then draw a picture on one side that represents your perspective of what is occurring with the issue or within the organization. Then on the other half of the page, draw your desired state of how you envision things looking. Then share the images with others and they share verbally what they see in what you have drawn.  After sharing with a few people, ask those who want to share “What did you learn, from what others shared about what they saw in your drawing?”