I read an interesting blog post from Jeff Goins a month ago. He was talking about the three kinds of people:
Givers, takers, and matchers
Adam Grant wrote a brilliant book on this topic, titled Give and Take. In that book, Adam Grant explores this topic in depth. Here is a quote:
“But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.”
Most people are matchers: they keep score by balancing what they do for others with what they receive in return. Or to put it another way, if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
So if you do something for me, the Law of Reciprocity kicks in, and I will be compelled to do something for you.
Beware – the Nasty Matcher
Some matchers can be nasty. They keep score and if you don’t reciprocate you will be the first to know about it. I remember a situation that perfectly illustrates the point.
When we lived in London, my wife and I became friendly with a French lady by the name of Mary-Jane. She quickly formed an attachment to me much to my wife’s disgust. Naturally I did not reciprocate but to cut a long story short one Christmas she told us she was going to France for a holiday. So she offered her luxury apartment to us for the week without strings (or so we thought). We gladly took her up on the offer.
While she was away we bought luxury chocolates, flowers, plus more than enough money to cover the power bill (in the middle of Winter) as a gesture of thanks for her hospitality. We left our gifts on the kitchen table with a lovely card before we departed.
About a week after Mary-Jane returned to London my wife got a call from the lady herself. She was furious that all she got was chocolates, flowers, and money! To this day, I’m not sure what she was wanting but this is a good example of a person who was seemingly generous, yet in reality, had an agenda based on ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’. She was a fraud.
Takers Aren’t Fakers
Not all people are Matchers of course. Some are Takers. These people are always looking for ways to gain a benefit for themselves, without any thought of giving value in return. Ever met anyone like that? In a way, I prefer a Taker to a Matcher. At least, you know up front what the agenda is and can respond accordingly. Compare this to the Matchers who sometimes can turn feral if you don’t reciprocate. And they seemed so nice!
Robert J Ringer wrote an excellent book called Looking Out For Number 1. He also talks about 3 personality types – 1, 2, 3. According to Ringer, the best people are the Number 1’s, the characteristics of which are similar to the Taker. You know exactly what they’re on about upfront, whereas the Number 3’s are not to be trusted because they always have a hidden agenda.
Can Givers Prosper?
A majority of people are matchers, which is ok. For most of my life I was a sweet natured Matcher (I don’t behave badly towards people if they don’t reciprocate) but in recent years, I have become more of a Giver. Sometimes it surprises me how often I reach out to help someone in their business, without any thought of receiving something back. Occasionally I kick myself for doing it but in the overall scheme of things I figure that a giving attitude has its reward.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Mother Theresa in drag. I still have to chase a buck too.
If you’re not doing it already, I suggest you cultivate the giver side of your personality. A beautiful thing about it is that because you’ll no longer be keeping score, it will take the pressure off. Further, you’ll feel good about it, and you’ll grow a larger network of supporters. Sooner or later it will come back to you.
This could be one of those ‘trust the Universe’ things. If you give without strings but still maintain a business-like demeanor, value will flow back to you in one form or another (and not necessarily from the person you helped).
Giving Without Being Taken Advantage Of
I’ve met people who were so generous that some with hard hearts took advantage of their generosity. They ended up becoming the proverbial doormat.
If you’re in sales or own a business, the best way to overcome it is always to keep your marketing messages in front of people. When they are ready to buy, they will be much more likely to do business with you because of your previous generosity.
When you give, it is important to do it in a commercial context. This is really about educating people that you are in business and always looking to grow your business – and you need customers. Above all, don’t keep your light under the proverbial bushel.
Another point is that if you are giving in a business context, you might want to think about being more selective about who you are giving to. Give to people who have the potential to do business with you in the future, but always do it on the basis that you don’t keep score.
Your Turn to Give Now
Time to Comment!
Fess up time – are you a Giver, a Taker or a Matcher?
Have you ever had an adverse experience with a nasty Matcher? Let’s hear it!
Make a comment below!
My Turn to Give To You!
To show you that I practise what I preach here is my gift to you.
I will GIVE you 30 minutes of my time without ANY expectation of something in return (other than a nice testimonial)
It’s valued at $250, but it’s your for FREE.
Results matter, so that will be my focus for you – to give you useful ideas you can use straight away.