Quote of the week

“Givers motivate themselves to avoid complacency by focusing on the benefits to others if they succeed and worrying about disappointing them if they fail.”

— Adam Grant

Editor’s Corner

It is interesting that when you ask people why they work in the government, they will probably say they do so not for the money but out of a sense of service.

Sometimes, though, that sense of service and helping others doesn’t translate to the workplace. That can be especially so in hierarchical organizations where rank matters and where information – and time – equal power. Why should you help someone if it will take time away in your productive day and, even worse, may give them a leg up in the future?

Well, here is a neat concept for managers and leaders in the bureaucracy to consider: nice guys actually finish first. In other words, the key to your personal success is by helping others.

The ideas come from organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who teaches at the Wharton School. He argues, based on his research, that if you help other people you are not taking time away from the organization’s productivity. Quite the opposite: you are motivating improved productivity and creativity.

In other words, what really inspires people to work better in organizations is “a sense of service to others.”

As always, there must be a sense of balance, I suppose. Grant himself finds it difficult to say “No” to just about anyone, making for very long days but apparently not having much impact on his productivity.

If you want more, his new book on this subject is called Give and Take (http://www.giveandtake.com/Home/Book).