Good guys finish last it is said in a “dog eat dog” world of competitive business. But is that really true? A couple of years ago, my cousin, who is a psychologist, recommended a book to me with which he was quite enamored, entitled “Give and Take” by Adam Grant. In the book, the author describes three different styles of social interactions when it comes to our relationships. We are givers, takers or matchers. The definitions may seem obvious, but just in case they are not: givers are those who give to others more than they receive in return and takers are those who receive more from the relationship than they ever give in return. The matchers are those who like to operate in the middle and be the equalizer. Matchers will hold both givers and takers accountable to the right balance of “giving” and “getting” in the relationship.
In the book, research is cited that bears out that the answer to the question above is “yes.” It is true. Good guys finish last. They sink to the bottom of the ladder. It just so happens that they are so busy helping other people get their work done, that they sacrifice their own work efforts. Givers have a tendency to do that, they tend to be more “other centered than self-centered.” It shows in their results.
So who finishes first? Is it the takers? Or the matchers? Drum roll please………… it’s actually givers. Takers and matchers make up the middle of the pack. But how can that be in a world of the survival of the fittest? Turns out that givers have a way of greatly magnifying the work of many through their efforts. Givers find their reward and delight in the success of others. Their individual achievements are valued with respect to the benefit of others. They hold to an other-centered perspective. Their network of relationships has an extraordinary impact for the organization.
Perhaps the good news here is that “good guys don’t always finish last.” Many will finish first. In the world of business these findings are found to be surprising and certainly telling of what it takes to be a successful leader. It is not surprising, however, for those who are students of Scripture. We have the example of the ultimate giver in our heavenly Father. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV Our ability to move on that continuum from being a taker to a giver is greatly dependent upon our understanding and acceptance of God’s love for us. Givers don’t ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Givers will experience rewards that takers and matchers will have difficulty understanding. May your life of abundant giving of your time, talents and treasures for His Kingdom be overflowing.
P.S. – Give and Take is a business book. If you would like to know how your style stacks up, you can take a free self-assessment survey at www.giveandtake.com. They do require you to provide an email address. (I’ve still got a long ways to go! :-0)
"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19