American business is supposed to be a tough, ultra-competitive arena where only the strong survive, and nice guys get trampled, right? According to this book, that is not totally true.
This book looks at three different kinds of people. Takers claim as much value for themselves as possible. If, for instance, they are the CEO, they are the sort of person who has a full page picture of themselves in the company's annual report, where most other CEO's will have a much smaller picture in their annual report. Takers are very deferential to superiors, and very mean and inconsiderate to subordinates. They use words like I, me and mine, as if they single-handedly caused their company to have a profitable year.
Matchers aim to trade value evenly, as if they want to keep their spiritual inbox and outbox equal. Givers contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
The giving could involve something like arranging a business introduction, or mentoring a younger employee. There is a fine line between being a giver and a doormat; a giver must also make sure that their business duties are not being ignored. In the short term, takers may do better than givers, but, in the long term, a giver's networking, collaboration and leadership skills will come to the forefront. A giver uses words like we, us and ours.
How can a person increase their giving capacity? Take a test to see just how much of a giver you really are. Start a reciprocity ring at work. A group of employees meet weekly to make requests of each other. The intention is that everyone do what they can to fulfill those requests. It may seem a bit silly, but someone in your circle may know someone who knows someone who can fulfill your request. Publicly recognize givers at work. If you would rather give on your own, start a Personal Generosity Experiment.
This is a very thought-provoking book, which shows that nice people can finish first. The average CEO, or division head, could do a lot worse than read this book, and start to implement its recommendations.