Givers and Takers

by Benny Bowman, President and COO of Worth Higgins & Associates

After every quarter of the year, we hold a company-wide quarterly meeting. We discuss the state of the company and share with employees pertinent information including corporate decisions as well as human resource announcements. Recently, we completed our company’s quarterly meeting for the second quarter. As a part of our second quarter recap each year we acknowledge employees with anniversaries of five year increments with the company. In this year’s meeting, we recognized employees with 5 years of service up to thirty-five.

What resonated from this celebration was the simple reality that any human relationship requires give and take. To even have the simplest conversation requires a speaker (giver) and a listener (taker). More complicated relationships, like employee to employer, require even more give and take. And in all relationships each side both gives and takes. However, to be truly successful in one’s career, a person has to be recognized as a giver. What does that mean? Let’s look at the two options.

A taker is a person who takes more than he or she gives. Usually a taker comes to work to take a paycheck, to take time from others to complain about his or her day, and to take any opportunity to slow down the production process to his or her level. At the end of a taker’s career, he or she may have accumulated savings to live in retirement, but money does not define a person’s legacy.

A giver is a person who gives more than he or she takes. A giver comes to work looking for an opportunity. Each day is filled with the opportunities to share knowledge, to encourage co-workers through words and deeds, and to perform at a high level. To “give it your all,” is a well-known phrase that either represents the opportunity to perform, or in past tense acknowledges a person who is performing at a high level. A giver’s legacy is not only appreciated at the end of his or her career, but every day he or she is on the team.

What was clear to me from the quarterly meeting is our company is overwhelmingly an organization of givers. Could it be that this mentality is inspired by the fact that our company is an employee-owned ESOP corporation? Certainly the ESOP has an effect on performance. However, I believe it is more than just the ESOP incentive. We give because it fulfills us. Because when we focus on giving we receive so much more than we could ever receive by focusing on taking. We receive loyalty, we receive recognition, and we receive success. In the end, it is who we are instinctively, and we don’t know any another way.

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