Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success | Adam Grant

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2018: Book #39

“Genius makers tend to be givers: they use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of other people.”

Wow…now that’s a powerful statement from Adam Grant’s book, “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.”

Grant divides all people into three groups: Givers, Takers, and Matchers.

Givers want to replicate themselves. They are by nature, generous…sometimes to a fault.  They want to help you and will uncover what the need is so as to assist you in the best possible way.

Takers…well…they take. Their goal isn’t to fulfill some goal in you. No, it’s about them: their goals, their mission, their vision. Your needs or the needs of others rarely enter the picture.

Finally, there are matchers. These are the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” people.  People defined by match think that if they spend $50 on you then you should spend $50 on them. Matchers want from you what they have given you.

Grant takes you through such leaders as Ken Lay of Enron, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Lloyd Wright and George Meyer.

Here were the key insights for me:

  • Empathy can hurt a giver. This was astounding to me. There are times when my “giver” can get me to go too far, especially as a leader. Instead of holding people accountable to get the job done–I can sometimes allow my empathy to rule the day and give people a pass. That’s dangerous. It hurts the team and the progress of the organization. That was a major revelation. I still care. I will still give grace, but I must be better at deadlines and accountability.
  • Don’t settle. “We need those people, like George Meyer, who aren’t afraid to say, “No, this isn’t good enough. We can do better.” Yes!  We need people who don’t mind pushing back and saying, “This can be better.” Yet we’re afraid it’ll hurt someone’s feelings. Thick skin is required. A desire for excellent work and crazy results is what is needed. We need those voices who will not settle, but push for the best.
  • “Be more otherish than selfish.  This is going to be a favorite phrase of mine and it will help me in my faith—to be more otherish. All this isn’t about me. It’s about others. The listeners and donors we serve and the team that has chosen to serve here it’s all about them. A danger for leaders is to make it all about us. It must be about them: customers and team members.

This book is nothing short of brilliant. It will help you screen applicants as you hire. For example, sales people should be givers. Hire people who want to help others be successful. Not people who want to be rich. The organization will be more successful and clients will be happier.

Leaders need to be givers. You want to raise up a generation of leaders who carry on the mission and vision.  Don’t be a taker. This isn’t all about you. Don’t hang around as long as you can. Pass the baton.

I am curious as to how givers, takers, and matchers are motivated to give to charities. That is fascinating. For Christian radio, that could help us craft on air breaks.  Hmmm…

I highly recommend this book.

Grant gets 4 out of 5 stars on this one.

That’s book #39 for 2018.

13 more to go to reach 52 by the end of the year.

Remember, all leaders are readers.
If you want to be a better leader…be a reader.
#52in2018

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