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Wednesday / June 29.
HomemibusinessDon’t Give to Get, Give to Get Better at Giving

Don’t Give to Get, Give to Get Better at Giving

Please don’t take the headline as being moralistic; it is in fact a realistic way of ‘taking care of yourself’… in business and in all other pursuits.

Great Expectations

The often used saying ‘give and you will get’ is highly misleading, because while it is obvious that givers will usually get more…in many cases they don’t, or at least they don’t get what they wanted or deserved as a reward for their labours.

Many people in business have found that when they gave their best not a soul said thank you, let alone offered some form of reward for their efforts in giving. This is the point: if you ‘give to get’ you will be constantly disappointed at how little you get back…and then you might give less or stop giving all together!

Do this and you will become an enemy to yourself.

“‘giving your best’ demands that you look beyond your job description role because, let’s face facts, not all job descr iptions are ‘success prescriptions’.”

There is of course nothing wrong in wanting to get a return for what you gave, even if it is just a pat on the back. But there is something wrong in giving with a dependence on getting something back. The purpose of giving one’s best is a mental equivalent of physical exercise; it is done to satisfy yourself first and others second. And if physical exercise is going to pay dividends it must be a consistent and perhaps growing effort, and the same principle applies to the efforts we make at work. Some people just don’t understand this; for example you hear people saying things like ‘I’ve given so much to this company, God knows I’ve given; I’ve given more than I was ever asked to do, and what have I got to show for it? Nothing! So I’m not giving any more, that’ll teach them!’ Will it? I don’t think so; this attitude simply penalises the giver!

Give Encouragement

I remember a great educator telling people years ago that they should be ‘encouragers’ in society, not just with their children but also with staff, colleagues and customers. Then he told me that sooner or later he’d hear people say: ‘Encouraging doesn’t work; I tried to encourage so and so and he wouldn’t listen.’

He then explained… ‘They missed the point: I didn’t mean that they should encourage others so that others would be encouraged; I meant that they should encourage others so that they themselves could be encouraged.’

So when people continue to give their best, no matter what return they get…they are in effect getting better at giving their best. And if such people consistently go unrecognised by those they work for, they can of course take their growing capacity to give their best to a company that does recognise and reward active givers. It should also be said that ‘giving’ at high levels must be delivered in addition to what is expected of us at work, via job descriptions, etc.

Giving Your Best

In other words if you can’t get the basic job done then your ‘giving more’ efforts will be unwelcome to say the least. Having said that, ‘giving your best’ demands that you look beyond your job description role because, let’s face facts, not all job descriptions are ‘success prescriptions’.

Parents understand that giving your best to kids is the least that needs to be done, and yet it often turns out that children don’t respond to what is given, by word or deed. Does this mean that parents should give up? Don’t answer that! I remember asking my eldest son when he was 14 to read a single, moving page from the book ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, the incredible, inspiring story of a 13 year old Jewish girl who braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity…and died in the process. It took me ten minutes to convince him to read the page and I hoped, like any parent, that the words would affect him deeply. My son read the page and then turned to speak, at which point I was hoping he would say ‘this has changed my life’. What he actually said was this: ‘didn’t do her much good did it?’

John Lees is a sales & marketing specialist engaged in speaking, training, consulting, business coaching…and he is the author of 11 books on business development. Contact John Lees via email: info@johnlees.com.au and visit his website: www.johnlees.com.au

“‘giving your best’ demands that you look beyond your job description role because, let’s face facts, not all job descr iptions are ‘success prescriptions’.”