The Seven Stones Blog

Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? Yes.

By Gina LaRoche

Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?” was the cover article in Sunday’s NY Times Magazine.

This article talks about an organizational psychologist, Adam Grant who has quantified how generosity and learning about generosity can positively impact sales and revenue performance at organizations. He uses himself as a test case and says yes to most if not all requests for his thoughts and opinions from dissertation topics to career choices for his students.

I found the article intriguing for it shows there is a way to measure thoughtfulness and kindness and it helps me with a question I have been grappling with about how to teach and practice generosity and giving in the workplace.

At Seven Stones we say we measure what we treasure and treasure what we measure. If organizations actively started measuring what academics call prosocial behavior and tied it to revenue measures then maybe leaders would stop ignoring, bullying and general bad behavior we sometimes see when we are called to do organizational work. Could it be that declaring a company culture is based in giving and then measuring it—is enough to alter the corporate climate? Maybe other inquires could help:

  • What does generous behavior look like at my organization?
  • In what ways have I been generous to my colleagues, clients or vendors?
  • How would I develop a climate of generosity at my organization or on my team?

At a mindfulness retreat I learned that the Buddha started teaching mindfulness and meditation by first teaching about generosity. In my contemplation about how to teach generosity and include it in our organizational teaching, I have used techniques for sharing through artifacts and by actually bringing a gift to exchange with a colleague. In reading about Adam Grant’s life I can see that maybe I am over-thinking it. He just says yes, period end of story. Here at Seven Stones we have a custom that when anyone asks to connect with us via phone or online, we respond. We are open to any conversation. We see it as part of our generosity practice and maybe saying yes is all there is to learn about giving and generosity. Where will you choose to begin?

  • Where can I start staying yes no matter what?
  • How can I structure my life to be open to serve others?
  • Can I trust myself to say yes without any knowledge of a reward for my generosity?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *