A good interview by Wharton’s Adam Grant about givers and takers, from McKinsey and co. Initially my reaction was “you cannot screen out the takers, they are the ones who’ve already made it to the top by ‘kissing up and kicking down’.” But I do agree that in the context of the knowlege economy, where people work more on projects and less in a hierarchical structure, giving can be a strength.
I also like his advice to ask people situational questions in recruitment interviews. Grant reasons that people will give you the answer you want if you ask what they would do, but if you ask them to predict others’ behaviour they are likely to give you an insight into their beliefs and motivations.
I also like his distinction of givers (one end the bell curve), matchers (the bulk of the bell curve) and takers (the other end of the bell curve). The bulk of people are matchers and they will follow the behaviour of the dominant group in the organisation – and society as well.
The question for us all is “which way around do we want our bell curve? Do we want givers or takers at the top end?”
I know I want to live and work with givers, so one way is to make time to thank people for their efforts and as Grant says, make the link for them from their efforts to how it’s contributing to a meaningful outcome for me or for our client.
So thanks to McKinsey for the link, it helped open my eyes to a new way to think about giving and thanks to Adam Grant for his research and his book, which reminds me that giving is a way to greatness, not the suckers choice!