One of my favorite books is Give and Take by Adam Grant. In the book Mr. Grant breaks the world into three groups of people…..givers, takers and matchers.
When I tell people about the three types, everyone wants to think of themselves as givers. In reality most of us are a combination of all three with a tendency towards one trait over the other two.
Most of the world is matchers
I would love to think of myself as a giver. If I’m going to be honest with myself, about 60 to 75% of the time I’m a matcher. If this sounds like you, then according to Mr. Grant you’re like the rest of the world.
Most of us live in a quid pro quo world. That’s why salesman will often do small favors for you knowing that you’re going to feel obligated to repay them. If you find that when you do something, you expect something in return or if someone does something nice for you, you can’t wait to discharge the obligation back then you’re likely a matcher…..and there certainly is nothing wrong with that.
Givers are the least successful
Lots of time givers end up being cannon fodder. If you find that you often do things for others and then you are taken advantage of, you’re likely a giver who lives in a lose/win world.
This means that when you work with someone, it’s easy for you to be taken advantage of. Takers love to find people like you. They can drain you dry. It’s why if you’re a natural giver you must learn to say no and know whom you’re dealing with.
Givers are the most successful
The thing I found most interesting in this book was the fact that givers were both the most and least successful people of all three types. The givers who are successful don’t just give and give and give.
They will give and give and give and have an expectation that you’ll pay it forward. They have an expectation that you’ll take your gifts and share them with someone else. If you don’t, then they just stop giving. Successful givers have figured out that success comes with win/win. Not trading, but making sure both parties get a win.
Takers can be very tough to be around
I bet you don’t want to be a taker. I also bet that at points in your life you’ve done this. You might have felt that you deserved it. You might even have felt that the world owed you something.
The problem with chronic takers is that they poison the well where they are. Chronic takers are narcissists. They believe the world is here to service them. If you run across a chronic taker, I have only one piece of advice. Get away and protect yourself. These are people who look out only for themselves. Takers live in a win/lose world and your part is being the loser.
Be honest about who you are
I find that knowing when you’re a giver, taker or matcher is really useful. If you want to move towards being a giver, then you need a strategy for success. If you’re a matcher, that’s fine. Just understand that your trades have to be fair.
If you’re a giver or for that matter a matcher, shoot for win/win. For a giver it’s about paying it forward and for a matcher it’s about quid pro quo. Both are OK places to be.
We have a case study you might be interested in. Its on relationships and roles in your business. It doesn’t talk about givers, takers and matchers. It does talk about how you spend your time and which part will bring you the most success. I would love to hear your opinion on this case study.