Feb 21

Would You Like to Be More Successful in 2017?

Would You Like to Be More Successful in 2017?

If you would like more success this year, an easy and simple method exists to achieve it. The method is quite simply to give more! Now this may seem a bit counterintuitive at first glance; to get more, you should give more. I assure you that this is not a frivolous technique without proof of effectiveness. No, instead this is a valid and empirically-tested method to gain increased credibility and a growing network of supportive connections and connecters.

The idea comes, most recently, from a book called “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”, written in 2013 by Adam Grant. Grant is a noted Wharton professor, teacher, and social scientist. I predict you will be hearing much more about him and from him in the years to come. He is listed as a speaker or keynoter at a dozen training and development (T&D) and other professional conferences in 2014 alone.

In the book, Grant explains that there are three kinds of people in the workplace. He calls these three groups givers, matchers, and takers. He starts by describing givers. Givers, Grant says, give and give unconditionally. They give without keeping score. A giver is the person who provides contacts and assistance for you when you are between jobs and there is really nothing you can offer the giver in return. Givers are the colleagues who mentor and provide encouragement in the workplace, though they often seem the busiest and least likely or able to take the time to do so. Givers give and give, and all without asking or seeming to expect anything in return.

Matchers also give, but for a number of reasons Grant cites, they feel the need to keep score. They are happy to give, but they want to ensure that in return for their giving, they get something in return. They want to give, they want to help, but they don’t want anyone to take advantage of them. In fact, perhaps the simplest way to view matchers is to say they match, instead of giving, because there is a third kind of person in the workplace. The third category of course, is the takers. We all know takers. Takers take. Takers use others to get what they want by whatever means necessary, and they are not the least bit interested in giving back.

Grant has much more to say on these three categories, but the book gets even more intriguing as he goes on to explain that givers are some of the most successful people in the workplace. Though this blog provides no space for some of the empirical evidence he presents to show how givers succeed and indeed thrive, the book is replete with example after example. The examples are pulled from empirical experiments in cognitive neuroscience and the social sciences, and provide scientific proof that givers do get ahead. It is a virtual road map for how givers can succeed and protect themselves from takers.

In fact he goes on to show that givers are even happier than their peers! Really, giving can make you happier? Yes, there are scores of studies from the field of positive psychology that show that those who give more are happier than those who take. This happiness, which rises from their positive and optimistic attitude, serves to strengthen their relationships and becomes yet another element which contributes to their success.

He even makes the case that in our increasingly connected world, our world which is tied together by multiple social media platforms and mobile applications, is accelerating the pace of success for givers. He argues that this technological connection is one more reason that givers are being recognized more quickly and that this in turn accelerates their rate of success.

So what should one do with all this information, you may be asking?

Consider using the Sacramento Chapter of ASTD as your vehicle for professional giving in 2014! Of course, you can give in your other professional interactions as well, and multiply your professional results. So why not consider an experiment designed to amplify your success. The experiment; use Sacramento ASTD as your giving trial.

1) Be a giver as a non-member. Attend a few meetings and make one or two connections that allow you to give to a fellow T & D professional.

2) Better yet, be a giver as a member of ASTD Sacramento. Be a member who, by virtue of your membership is saying, “I am fully invested as a member and I am actively seeking ways to give.”

3) Finally, this year, or next, or even the year after, consider giving as a volunteer or an ASTD Chapter Board Member. As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to build deep and lasting connections with some of the most committed T & D professionals in the area. Every July the Sacramento Chapter conducts a mid-year board retreat. This is an open session where anyone can sit in, see what the board is up to, and decide if there is a board position that fits you.

The 2014 Board of ASTD Sacramento invites you to use ASTD Sacramento as the vehicle for your professional giving. We predict you will be amazed by the results.

Of course, I also want to “give back” to Adam Grant, by inviting you to read his fascinating book. “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. You can find it on Amazon.

Bruce Winner
ASTD Sacramento
Communications Director

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