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Adam Grant, author of the book Give and Take, shares his insight into how businesses can “reap significant and lasting benefits” in the article, Givers Take All: The hidden dimension of corporate culture. The business changing method? Encourage employees to “both seek and provide help”.

Giving—your time, your perspective, your expertise—can actually change companies and create results.

Adam proposes that organizations build a giver culture, one where “employees operate as high-performing government intelligence units do: helping others, sharing knowledge, offering mentoring, and making connections without expecting anything in return.”

You might be thinking that this sounds like kumbaya, soft skills nonsense. But, businesses with help-centered cultures that focus on strengthening team chemistry actually tend to have higher levels of business performance.

According to Grant, no matter the industry or context, organizations benefit when employees freely contribute their knowledge and skills to others. He points to research by Indiana University’s Philip Podsakoff, suggesting that this helping-behavior facilitates organizational effectiveness by:

  • Enabling employees to solve problems and get work done faster
  • Enhancing team cohesion and coordination
  • Ensuring that expertise is transferred from experienced to new employees
  • Reducing variability in performance when some members are overloaded or distracted
  • Establishing an environment in which customers and suppliers feel that their needs are the organization’s top priority

As a company devoted to helping build stronger, higher performing teams and organizations, we see this impact.

Making it Happen – How to be a Giver Culture:

Adam points out that the success of a giver culture depends on employees making requests.

Therein lays the challenge. Without these requests being made or knowing how to actually communicate the need, it’s difficult to figure out who to help and what would be truly valuable.

This is where we focus on the individual, by identifying individual strengths and providing clarity around how to utilize them. We provide Emergenetics teams and individuals with a framework to utilize strengths and a language to make requests. It also provides the Giver with a better sense of what provides value to others. Through this common language, we see companies transform from having an “I” culture to having a “WE” culture.

Our approach to team building is called the Power of WE, a state of peak performance that teams achieve when all Emergenetics Attributes are honored. Understanding cognitive diversity can be the catalyst to empowering individuals to ask for help and engage in helping others in a way that best works for each party on a practical level.

Take the natural ways people behave and interact and how that relates to giving and receiving help.

  • Those on the reserved end of the expressiveness spectrum will connect with others quietly and will pitch in under the radar. Those on the more gregarious end of the spectrum will ensure that every idea is discussed and can spread the word on giving.
  • A person on the peacekeeping end of the assertiveness spectrum will see both sides of an issue and can help others without creating conflict. Those on the more driving end of the assertiveness spectrum will be concerned about getting the task done and will embrace helping to quickly move things forward.
  • Focused individuals, those on the more firm end of the flexibility spectrum, do not get distracted easily and will help by looking to stay on track. Those on the easygoing end of the spectrum give via an openness and willingness to explore new ideas and accommodate new directions.

To build a giver culture, start by recognizing that people are different. Build a WE centered culture that honors individual strengths and illuminates what people actually need. Maintain and encourage helper benefits- embolden givers to keep on giving and not get burned out, and inspire takers to self-reflect and consider a lifestyle change.

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