Are you a Giver or a Taker? Greg’s Healthy Franchise Relationships 2-Minute Tip #106

In this week’s Tip, Greg shares his insights on ‘Givers’, ‘Takers’, & ‘Matchers’ and what Harvard research psychologist, Adam Grant has to say about the traits of each group.  In franchising, does it pay to be a Giver?  Read on…

Are you a Giver or a Taker? – Greg’s Healthy Franchise Relationships 2-Minute Tip #106
By Greg Nathan

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an online interview with a talented young research psychologist from Harvard called Adam Grant. Adam is the author of the best seller, “Give and Take”. His big question has been whether it pays in life to be generous. According to his research, there are broadly three types of people: Givers who genuinely try to make a difference; Takers who are basically just out for themselves; and Matchers (the most common type) who do a bit of both but generally try to act fairly. I found this question of whether it pays to be a Giver an interesting one because I know which type I think is the most successful in franchise communities.

It turns out that his research with engineers, doctors and sales people found the worst performers are Givers! However Takers are not the best performers because, although they tend to get some quick wins in organisations, they don’t succeed in the long term. The reason is they are taken down by the Matchers who act like a sort of karma police force. The most common strategy used to bring down a Taker is to damage their reputation by spreading the word about what they are really like.

Why just being nice is not enough

So does that mean the Matchers are the most successful people? Actually no. The surprising finding from this research is that there is an over representation of Givers in the top 25% of performers. So Givers make the best and the worst performers. To explain this we need to look at another personality characteristic called “Agreeableness”.

People high on “Agreeableness” have a nice persona and like to be liked. Agreeable Givers tend to frequently do favours for others at the expense of looking after themselves or their own responsibilities. And they often burn out or fail to deliver on their objectives because they don’t know when to be firm and say no to unreasonable requests. For instance sales people who are Agreeable Givers easily fall into the trap of discounting their prices to keep customers happy — not good for the bottom line. On the other hand Disagreeable Givers are often very useful to others or to organisations because they challenge the status quo when things are not working and they give the tough feedback when it’s needed.

How to be an effective Giver

The message from this research is not that we should be disagreeable to be effective. It is more that we need to watch our motives. Successful Givers are more motivated to do the right thing for others or for the business than by pleasing others or being liked. Effective Givers also learn from experience to be good readers of other people. While this wisdom sometimes comes from being exploited by a Taker, they learn from this and develop a sense of who to trust and the signs of the “Faker Taker” — the person who sucks up to you if you have something they need, otherwise they’ll treat you with disdain.

Effective Givers also tend to chunk their giving, meaning when they decide to be generous they do it in quality bursts. This enables them to make more of a difference while being responsible and hitting their own targets. They understand they also need to pay their way to be a self-reliant, contributive member of their family or community.

So next time you get cheesed off or discouraged by a Taker franchisee who only participates in initiatives that benefit them, or a Taker franchisor who kisses or kicks depending on what’s in it for them, take heart. Success in business and in life is a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s no doubt going to be a bunch of Matchers out there who’ll see that justice is done.

A final tip from Adam Grant’s research. Successful Givers are not afraid to ask others for help. Most acts of giving start with a request, so we need to be comfortable making requests.

Until next time…happy giving,

Greg Nathan
Franchise Relationships Institute

Love this Tip, Greg.  Great to hear that the most successful people are Givers and that the Karma police (Matchers) are keeping an eye on us all.  And beware “Faker Takers”, thanks to this week’s Tip, we’re on to you!

More Soon,


P.S. Did you know that we keep a stock of Greg’s books at our offices in Boulder, CO?  Let us know if you are interested in purchasing a copy of Profitable Partnerships for all of your franchisees.  Bulk discounts are available!

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