Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, has achieved some fame and success with his writing and speaking about the value of generosity. You can read this earlier Construction Marketing Ideas blog posting, quoting a New York Times magazine article, where you can learn more about the ironies here — notably that ‘givers’ are either the most — or least — successful in life. The challenge: To avoid being taken advantage of by the “takers,” yet, to achieve the level of givingness, that you provide a lot of genuine value to as many people as possible, without straining ourselves or being exploited by the manipulators out for number one.
I learned about Adam from Matt Handal, who like Tim Klabunde, practices these concepts in daily life. Handal reached Grant and interviewed him for a podcast. The audio quality is far from perfect, but the ideas — and the way both Handal and Grant communicate — are enlightening. Both Grant and Handal make it clear that the concepts here are especially relevant for architects and engineers. They don’t speak about contractors — not their primary marketing focus — but I sense that the contractors, sub-trades and suppliers who master the art of giving also do the best in their fields.
Most popular psychological arguments and perspectives, of course, have limitations as well as strengths. I think, for example, that we often revert to the mean; that is, we become “matchers” — and it requires quite a bit of energy and effort to truly be an effective giver. Yet we can still learn much here, and I encourage you to listen to Handal’s podcast.