The Hottest Business Trend: Giving

The Hottest Business Trend: Giving

June 4, 2013

There is a major trend going on right now.  And the trend is giving — giving to others without any expectation of receiving something in return.

I call it a trend, though it has been a principle of living a fulfilling, successful and abundant life since the beginning of time.  It’s a trend because suddenly everyone seems to be writing about it in books and articles.  Adam Grant, the popular Wharton professor, has devoted much of his professional life studying givers vs. takers.  His new book Give and Take provides surprising evidence of the science of success.  The New York Times touted the new giving trend in Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?

When it comes to giving I’m not talking about charity here. I’m talking about having a genuine interest in the well being and success of other people – rich, or poor, and everyone in between – and enthusiastically supporting them to reach their goals.  The people I’m referring to, are those we meet on our own paths to growth and success.  Like us, they are on a journey, although their missions and goals may be different from ours. They are colleagues, bosses, and coworkers.  They are people looking for work or thinking about starting their own businesses. They are our clients, customers or potential customers, even those in the corporate hierarchy whom we respect or admire. Sometimes they are our competitors.

On the surface giving may appear to be counterintuitive. Don’t we need to ‘take’ and  ‘get’ in order to succeed?  You need to get a job or get investors to start a business.  You get friends. You get money. You get business.  Some people ‘take’ from whomever they can because they think life is about getting.  After all it’s a rough world out there.

However, I do not believe that is the way life works. Takers or getters might appear to succeed, but, if that’s what they practice as a philosophy of life, in the long run, most of them fail to reach their potential or live a lonely, unfulfilled life.

When you give support and make introductions to help a person reach their goals, good things seem to happen, not just to the recipient, but to the giver.  I know this first hand.  I recount my experiences as well as those of others in my book LINK OUT .  

Give and Take offers more case studies and supports it with research.  Great leaders know this, too. Just how does the authentic giver benefit? First, there’s the immediate ‘high’ or serotonin boost we get after offering support to another generously.   But most important, when you give, it’s the start of a relationship, which opens the door to potential collaboration and trust.  Finally, over time people that make giving a part of their leadership strategy achieve the most success.  I always believed this from experiential evidence.  However, Adam Grant proves it in Give and Take.   Long term business success comes from collaboration, which is the result of giving.  Without collaboration, journeys and goals often get derailed or never reach their full potential.

This trend of consistently giving, not taking, not being focused on getting, but on discovering what others need and then supporting them to get it, comes from a person unselfishly contributing to another person without an expectation of a pay-back. When all these factors are real and authentic, the giver is rewarded bountifully from unexpected sources.  When you give, it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for support, introductions and advice for yourself.  In fact, when you are a giver, it empowers you to make requests, knowing that you live life as a contributor.

Have you noticed people in your life who are consistently the takers?  On the other hand, make note of those who are givers.  What’s their success ratio? What about you — are you a giver or a taker?

Pay particular attention to the conversations you have with others.  Are you always asking for help and never discovering how you can support others to reach their goals? Are you truly listening to the people with whom you meet?  Do you ask them about their vision or goals and think about how you can help them?  If you are in sales or business development and you do this with customers or potential customers, you will see a boost in your success which will last a lifetime.   If you are perplexed about how to create this shift – then start by reading a free chapter of LINK OUT  or read the complete book for the full strategy and you will find your life changing in ways it’s hard to imagine.  Create a new paradigm for giving and see success roll out for you, your customers, colleagues, your company and your team.  We can all be winners.

— Leslie Grossman,