Wisdom Workout: The Power of Exceptional Giving

By Susan McNeal Velasquez.
By Susan McNeal Velasquez.

Based on research done by Adam Grant, one of the highest-rated professors at Wharton School of Business, about 35% of our business workforce is comprised of takers.

This includes both leaders and employees who are driven by ego and self-promotion that includes taking credit for the ideas and work of others. They twist reality to suit their interests and they care about power more than people.

Several decades of social sciences research on reciprocity, divides the world into three categories: givers, matchers and takers.

Givers give without expectation of immediate gain, are never too busy to help, share credit actively and mentor generously. Matchers go through life with a chit list, giving to people they think can help them and when they will get something of equal value. Takers seek to come out ahead in every exchange.  They manage up and are defensive about their turf. The research goes on to say that most people fall into the matcher category.

Successful givers are highly engaged and motivated which distinguishes them as leaders and models of achievement.

They rate high in concern for others and are discerning in that they seek out other givers and matchers to reinforce their social ties. The impact of their giving is both energizing and gratifying.

Do you think it is possible to create an organization that is highly productive because of the commitment of motivated people who value service to others and receive deep satisfaction from their opportunity to contribute?

Let’s imagine that you have such an organization. It has been in business for 51 years and has been growing steadily since its inception.  You engage 186 workers whose cumulative efforts not only keep the organization’s daily operations running smoothly but they contribute the equivalent of  $1 million yearly in contributions to your community.

Your organization has a track record of grooming leaders from within its ranks. It systematically rotates leadership roles and responsibilities so that talents are never wasted and burnout is effectively sidestepped. New ideas are encouraged. The environment is alive with opportunities to develop new skills by taking on new challenges. Mentoring is a natural part of the culture.

Operating under the organization’s umbrella, 17 individual programs serve over 4,000 persons throughout your community yearly.

The climate of the workplace is vibrant, enthusiastic, friendly and efficient because of well-defined job descriptions and high levels of communication that consistently produce the intended outcomes.

About now, some of you might be thinking, “Susan, get real! This is an ideal that, in the best of all worlds, we would like to achieve. However, the reality is business is a tough game and as they say ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’! It’s hard to find dedicated employees unless they are compensated well for their efforts. We have to keep a tight rein on our people to make sure that they are handling what is expected of them” etc. You know all of the supposed common realities of doing business as it is normally done.

The real truth is that this imagined organization is not fictional. It is a fact. It is an organization that operates here in our community and has for the past 51 years.

What is it? It is the Assistance League of Laguna Beach. It currently has 186 members efficiently running all 17 programs with the help of their partners throughout our generous city. The organization logged in over 50,000 volunteer hours worth over $1 million this past year.

The Assistance League of Laguna Beach is a volunteer organization whose members put caring and commitment into action through community-based philanthropic programs.

We all possess the muscles required to be a giver. The only difference is that givers exercise those muscles.

Why not take the time to delve more deeply into all opportunities to flex your volunteer muscles that are available through this organization? The intention held by the members is to create, communicate and celebrate in the joy that comes from being involved in the power of service to others. You can reach them at: 949-494-6097.


Susan is the author of Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. For seminars and consulting services learn more at: susanvelsquez.com or reach her at: (949) 494-7773.

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