More on "give and take" by Adam Grant

By William Seidman I’m still thinking about this interesting book. It’s deservedly gotten a lot of press and is in the top ten on bestseller lists for business books. “Give and Take” by Adam Grant  is about “reciprocity styles.” Basically, this refers to how people interact with others. The central model is that there are three styles of reciprocity: Givers – Altruistic people who give to others without an expectation of reciprocity Takers – People who are in it for themselves Matchers – People who expect equal giving in response to their giving Grant refines this model by identifying: Fakers – Takers who pretend to be givers Selfless Givers – People who give so much they are doormats Otherish Givers – Givers with boundaries Grant argues that Otherish Givers, over time, significantly outperform the other categories and that communities of Otherish Givers significantly outperform Taker and Matcher organizations. I would support his perspective for two reasons. First, his notion of optimal individual “giving” is almost exactly the way positive exemplars (formerly positive deviants—the top performers in an organization) function. Second, his notion of “a giving community” is almost exactly what gets created in the new version of the social Learning Groups we are using in our work. The positive exemplars give because they are motivated to achieve a greater purpose and realize that they can’t achieve it by themselves. The Learning Groups become givers because they are a community collectively helping each other to achieve a greater purpose. However, the book is weak in that its prescriptions for teaching people to be givers and creating giver communities are a few list of unconnected activities buried in an appendix. Like so many business books, this is an interesting theoretical model with no meaningful way to make it an organizational reality. In that sense, the Cerebyte “Star Factor” methodology is a valuable complement to “Give and Take.” It shows people how to find the best givers, guide others to become givers, and create a giver community.  ]]>

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