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To give is to be social

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To give is to be social

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Social business is typified by giving.  Inside the enterprise things like collaboration and knowledge sharing are founded on the principle of giving freely, not with the intention of getting something in return, but merely to help the other person.

The same principle applies when using social outside of the enterprise.  Crowdsourcing typically attracts people whose main desire is to see the project succeed or for knowledge to advance.  The same even applies in crowdfunding.  Whilst backers often receive something in return for their investment, one suspects that their main motivation is to see the project come to fruition.

A book very much in this spirit is Give and Take.  Written by Wharton academic Adam Grant, it looks at the age old notion of collaboration and success.  Do the nice guys that give unreservedly get ahead?  Do you need to take a tit for tat approach in order to succeed?  Or is it best to be a taker?

The book contains dozens of great stories and anecdotes, but perhaps one that typifies his hypothesis is one from school.  He found that students with a giving type of personality would often struggle in the first year of studies, as their peers were generally receiving support from them, whilst also devoting time to their own learning.  By the second year however, the givers had edged ahead, whilst by the final years, they were clear leaders in terms of performance.

So, in other words, the key is that in long-term relationships, giving is a fantastic strategy.  Building the kind of long-term relationships with your customers, with your colleagues, and with other stakeholders in your business requires therefore a giving strategy. Next time you have a conversation with someone therefore, think not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them.

If you’re a manager and want to create this kind of culture in your own organisation, my next blog will contain some tips on how to do that.

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