Adam Grant: “Give and Take” | Talks at Google

Adam Grant: “Give and Take” | Talks at Google


ALANA WEISS: Good morning. My name is Alana Weiss, and
today it is my pleasure to welcome Adam Grant to the
Leading at Google series. Adam Grant is the youngest
tenured professor and single highest rated teacher at
the Wharton School. He is a former record setting
advertising director, junior Olympic springboard diver, and
professional magician. He has been honored as one of
“Business Week’s” favorite professors and one of the
world’s top 40 business professors under 40. Adam is a regular contributor
to Google’s People & Innovation lab, and he also
has consulted with clients ranging from the NFL
to Goldman Sachs to the United Nations. He holds a Ph.D in
organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and
a BA from Harvard University. Today, Adam will share from his
new book “Give and Take.” Please join me in welcoming
Adam Grant. [APPLAUSE] ADAM GRANT: Good morning. Thank you guys so much
for having me. I’m truly delighted
to be here. It’s always an honor and a treat
to speak to Googlers, and also to see lots
of friendly faces in the audience. And I’m going to try to turn all
of those friendly faces in a more negative direction
in the next few minutes. The place I want to start is I
want to talk for maybe 35 or 40 minutes or so. We’ll have lots of interactive
discussion throughout, and then hopefully open it up then
for some questions and more discussion. But the place to begin, really,
is to say that I’m interested in success and what
makes some people and organizations incredibly
productive and effective and why other people, perhaps,
are less so. And at the end of the day, what
I want to know is how can every person in this room own
a face that looks like this? AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And I know some of
you are thinking right now, well, I already own that face. And the question is, well, how
could you own it more often? Or how could you spread it to
the other people around you? And as an organizational
psychologist, when I started doing research in this area
about 10 years ago, I found that there were three ways
to get to this face– hard work, talent, and luck. If you want to be effective in
any domain or any profession or any field, you have to
develop a strong work ethic, you have to really be mastery or
expertise oriented so that you develop true skills, and, as
Malcolm Gladwell told us in “Outliers,” you have to find
yourself in the right place at the right time. And I think that’s all true. But for me, it was missing a
really important part of success in this connected world
that we all live in– our interactions with others. Most of you work in teams. Many of you have clients. Some of you have more managers
than you would like, perhaps. And the question is, how does
the way that you interact with those people every day, shape
the results that you achieve, the promotions that you gain? And ultimately, perhaps also the
meaning in the happiness that you obtain. So when I was trying to get to
the bottom of this, I came across a really inspiring
quote. It was from Robert Benchley. And Benchley said there are only
two kinds of people in the world– those who divide the world into
two kinds of people, and those who don’t. And I thought that was a
really profound way of criticizing those of us in the
psychology world who like to oversimplify all of the richness
and complexity of human beings. And I told myself that if I
ever wrote a book I would never dumb down all of the
complexity of people into just two categories. Which is why today I am proud to
announce to you that if you want to capture everything
important about interpersonal interaction in organizations
you need not two, but three categories. No, actually, in all
seriousness, there’s a good amount of evidence across
industries and across cultures that there are three fundamental
motives that people bring to their
interactions. I call them reciprocity styles,
basically trying to capture the way that you
approach your interactions with other people into
exchanging value. On one end of the reciprocity
spectrum we have the takers. The people that we all love to
hate who try to get as much as possible from others and try to
shirk having to contribute back and often specialize in
things like relentless self promotion, hogging credit, and
maybe stepping on a few people on their way to the top. Now, on the other end of the
spectrum we have these very, very strange characters
that I call givers. And for some odd reason, they
actually enjoy helping others. Not necessarily philanthropists
or volunteers, but rather the kinds of people
who do a lot of knowledge sharing, who are always
introducing people and making connections, who may step
up to provide mentoring. Now, very few of us
fall purely in the taker or giver category. Most people, it turns out, if
you look at the data, are what I call matchers. And a matcher is somebody who
has tried to keep an even balance of give and take. Quid pro quo. Tit for tat. If I do you a favor, I expect
you to do me one in return. And that seems like a safe and
reasonable way to live your professional life. But my question is, is it the
best way to live your professional life? Is being a matcher, which most
people choose to do, actually the best path to success? I’m going to try to shed some
light on that today. But before we do that, let’s
dive into the takers a little bit and say, how would you
recognize a taker even if you didn’t know that person? So I prepared a little test,
first of all, for you to figure out if you yourself
are a taker. If you could take a moment and
take the test, I’ll tell you whether you passed. AUDIENCE: [CHUCKLING] ADAM GRANT: Now, I hope this is
the only thing I will say today that is not based
on data or evidence. But I sincerely believe that
the longer it takes you to laugh, the worse your score
is on the taker spectrum. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: Obviously, there are
a couple different paths to becoming a taker. One is to be a narcissistic,
to be insecure, to believe that you have to be superior to
others to be successful and carry around this assumption
that the world is zero sum. A second path to becoming a
taker, which I want to talk a little bit about today, is
having been taken advantage of one too many times as a matcher
or a giver, and believing if I don’t put
myself first in this dog-eat-dog competitive
world, nobody will. There’s a third path to becoming
a taker which I’m not going to talk about today,
it’s called being a psychopath. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: So all right. How do you spot a taker? How do you recognize one? There’s an actual study by
Chatterjee and Hambrick showing that you can tell
whether a CEO is a taker just by looking at that person’s
photograph in a company’s annual report. Here are photos of two CEOs. I would argue that one is
a taker, one’s a giver. These guys both built very
successful companies. Both, interestingly, in the
1970s worked in the Nixon administration, which I believe
is where one learned some of his taking habits. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And the
question is– these photos were taken right
from their annual reports– can you tell which of the two
of them is the taker just by looking at their faces
or their clothing? Take a second to study them, and
then I’m going to ask you to weigh in with your votes,
and then justify your bets. [WHISTLING “JEOPARDY!” THEME] So as of 2013, most Wharton
undergrads don’t recognize that music. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: Which I find
to be a great tragedy. Like, is that “The Twilight
Zone?” No. All right, how many people
think the guy on your right is the taker? How many of you don’t
know which one is the guy on your right? No, OK. Show your hands again, the
guy on your right. The taker. Show your hands high, we want
to know who you are. OK. Why? Why do you think
he’s the taker? Yes. AUDIENCE: Well, his eyes
look less kind. ADAM GRANT: His eyes. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: So you can see
kindness in the eyes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. I’m going with what I have. ADAM GRANT: Who are you, and
where can I learn that skill? AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: So I’m told that
that may be a built-in feature to the Google Glasses. But what about the eyes signals
kindness to you? AUDIENCE: I don’t– I’m also completely basing
this off like my exp– ADAM GRANT: Rightfully so. What else could you use? I’ve given you no information. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] AUDIENCE: So I feel like the
one on the left, they’re a little more closed. Not squinting, but
just more narrow. ADAM GRANT: All right. So you feel like the guy on the
right, the taker, is sort of looking you right
in the eye? AUDIENCE: Yeah, it’s like he’s
posing for a commercial. ADAM GRANT: He’s posing
for a commercial. Or a press photo shoot. Yeah. So there’s an actual study
by Keith Campbell and his colleagues looking at spotting
takers on Facebook. They look at the narcissistic
variety of takers, and they show that takers actually post
vainer profile pictures of themselves. They’re not necessarily more
attractive human beings in general, but you will find a
greater distance between how they look every day and how hot
they are in their profile photo, because they have
to put that best foot forward, right? All right. So that’s one interesting cue. What else do you see about the
man on the right that signals that man is a taker? He’s selfish. He’s egotistical. Now no one wants to answer. But yes, right here. AUDIENCE: I think his smile
looks a little forced. ADAM GRANT: The smile
looks forced. How so? AUDIENCE: It’s like tense. ADAM GRANT: It’s tense. So you think that he’s hiding
something behind it. AUDIENCE: Yeah. ADAM GRANT: Maybe All right,
that’s reasonable. Some people also look to this
smile and say he’s baring his teeth, and in the
animal kingdom that’s a sign of dominance. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And clearly
CEOs live in the animal kingdom, so. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: Any other cues? John Carmel, what
about the eyes? AUDIENCE: I don’t know. ADAM GRANT: I know you’ve
been well trained to look at the eyes. AUDIENCE: I don’t remember. ADAM GRANT: Ugh. Anybody use the eyes other than
just general kindness? A more specific cue? Yes. AUDIENCE: The guy on the left
looks like he’s making direct eye contact, the one on the
right looks like he’s looking a little bit above you. ADAM GRANT: Yeah. All right. That’s a possibility. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]. ADAM GRANT: A-ha! Bring it on. AUDIENCE: It’s when you’re doing
a fake smile your eyes lie because I think they
crinkle right here. ADAM GRANT: They
don’t crinkle. AUDIENCE: Or don’t crinkle. ADAM GRANT: Yes. So some of you know the French
neurologist Duchenne in the 1800s discovered the Duchenne
smile, the authentic smile. You can’t control these muscles
right next to your eyes, and so when you’re
experiencing genuine positive emotions you will see those
crinkle or wrinkle next to your smile. But if it’s a fake smile,
you won’t see those. The problem is both takers and
givers and matchers, too, are capable of fake smiles. In fact, there are a lot of
takers, also, who engage in very genuine smiles. There’s a term in psychology
called duping delight, which captures the sheer joy you
experience if you’re a taker after lying to somebody and
getting away with it. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: So you can see this
very genuine smile from a taker who’s like, I just took
you to the cleaners. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: All right. So those are a couple cues. I am sorry to report that the
man on the right I would say is the giver. So some of you will be
feeling bad about yourselves right now. Please don’t. I will make the rest of
you feel bad about yourselves in a moment. The guy on the right, some of
you may have heard of him, his name is Jon Huntsman, Sr. He
built the building that I teach in at Wharton. He’s one of 19 people on Earth
who have given away over $1 billion dollars. Seemingly pretty generous. He also had a son recently
who may have been a presidential candidate. If you’ve read his book “Winners
Never Cheat,” he has some incredible stories of going
out of his way to give to others, including after the
financial markets crashed, he couldn’t fulfill all of his
charitable commitments so he took out a personal loan to
deliver on his promises to help various causes. There’s also a couple stories,
actually, of him being in big merger and acquisition
negotiations and ending up feeling like the CEO at the
other side of the table is in a really bad situation,
had just lost his wife due to cancer– cancer, unfortunately,
has affected a lot of the Huntsman family– and Huntsman basically signed a
deal instead of claiming an extra $200 million because he
empathized with the other guy. So I think he’s a pretty
powerful example of a giver. The man on the left I would
say was the taker. Did anybody recognize him? AUDIENCE: Ken Lay. ADAM GRANT: OK, those
of you who recognized him, that’s cheating. You can’t use actual information
about him. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: You’re supposed to
use the photo and the clothes. But yeah, Ken Lay. What do you know
about Ken Lay? AUDIENCE: Enron. ADAM GRANT: Enron. Yeah, one of the primary
villains in that scandal. If you’ve seen or read “The
Smartest Guys in the Room,” you’ve been exposed to many,
many examples of him having been a taker. Now, the question is, how did
you know, if you didn’t recognize him, that
he was a taker? And I’m sad to report that there
is nothing in either of these two photos that
says anything about givers and takers. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: I just like to see
what people are willing to read into meaningless
photographs. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: No, in all
seriousness, I show you these photos for two reasons. One, to remind you that when we
judge is somebody a giver or a taker, are they generous
and helpful, or are they selfish, we tend to rely a
lot on intuition, on snap judgments, on the thin slices
that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in “Blink.” The problem
is these are often wildly inaccurate, because somebody’s
outer veneer– are they friendly? Are they warm? Are they welcoming? Are they polite?– is totally different from
their inner motives. And Ken Lay is a great example
of this, right? He wasn’t just a taker, he was a
faker, ie, a taker disguised as a giver. He donated 1% of Enron’s annual
profits to charity. He went out of his way to do
what translates from Dutch to kissing up, kicking down. Takers are really good fakers
when dealing with superiors. They want to put their best
feet forward, they want to make a good impression
on powerful people. But it’s hard to maintain
that masquerade at every interaction. And so even if his bosses were
fooled, oftentimes his peers and his subordinates saw
right through him. But I believe we didn’t have
to go to his peers and subordinates to find out
that he was a taker. I think we could have looked
at the 1997 Enron annual report, four years before the
company collapsed, and spot a cue that Ken Lay was a taker. Let me show you these
photos in context. Here’s Huntsman’s
photo from his company’s 2006 annual report. What do you think Ken Lay’s
photo looked like? Some people are saying
it’s a little bigger. That would be a dramatic
understatement. Because if you look at the Enron
1997 annual report, you will notice that his head
is an entire page. AUDIENCE:
[LAUGHTER AND GROANING] ADAM GRANT: Now, lest you think
this is just sort of a fun, unusual example, an
outlier, when Chatterjee and Hambrick did their research,
they got data on over 100 computer companies. They got Wall Street analysts
who knew the CEOs of each of those companies to rate how
much of a taker is each of those CEOs. How egotistical? How selfish? How narcissistic? And then they looked for cues
that correlated with the Wall Street analyst’s ratings. And they found three cues that
actually correlated at 0.86, a whopping correlation in the
social sciences, with the ratings given by the analysts. And one of them was the
prominence of the CEO’s photo in the annual report. The taker CEOs actually
had larger photos. They were more likely to be
pictured alone, as well. Which sent a clear
message, right? I am the most important person
in this company. It is all about me. Second cue– compensation. The average computer industry
CEO made about two to two and a half times the annual salary
of the next highest paid executive in that company. The average taker CEO had a
multiple of what greater than the next highest paid executive
in the company? AUDIENCE: 40. ADAM GRANT: 40. I mean, I’m not even sure if
that’s financially possible. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: It was a
multiple of seven. So taker CEOs got paid about
seven times more than anybody else in their company. Third cue was in their speech. Not just larger photos, not
just bigger relative pay. What two words do taker CEOs
use more than the others? AUDIENCE: “I” and “me?” ADAM GRANT: “I” and
“me,” bingo. When talking about the company,
as opposed to “us” and we.” So those are a
couple ways that you could recognize a taker. What I want to do, though, is
I want to ask, OK, what happens to takers? Do they rise? Do they fall? How does their success compare
to givers and matchers? And when I started trying to ask
this question, I began at the bottom of success, asking
which group is worst off. Who gets the worst results? Is it the takers, the givers,
or the matchers? And it looked at research
in three domains. First, engineers. Got to have engineers. Stanford’s Frank Flynn did this
great study where he got engineers to rate each other
on how many favors they did versus how many they got,
and then tracked their productivity and the number
of errors they made. And then medical students. Filip Lievens and his colleagues
got every medical student in Belgium over a seven
year period to fill out surveys about how much they
liked helping others and then tracked their grades. And then Dane Barnes and I
actually studied salespeople. And we were interested
in revenue. So who were the highest
producing salespeople who bring in the most revenue
every year? Across these three groups, the
same results came out. The engineers, the medical
students, and the salespeople. There was one group, either the
takers, the givers, or the matchers, who was consistently
worse off when it came to productivity, errors,
grades, and revenue. Get a show of hands to see
where your intuitions and assumptions lie. How many people think
it was the takers at the bottom most often? All right, we have some
optimists in the room. How many people think
it was the matchers? OK, a lot of you. Now, this is an odd thing
to vote for, because statistically if most people
are matchers, it would actually be quite hard for
most people to be at the bottom of any metric. What about the givers? How many people think the givers
are at the bottom? All right, those of you
with your hands up, you would be correct. If you looked at the engineers,
the engineers with the worst productivity and the
most mistakes were those who did a lot more favors
than they got back. They were so busy helping
their colleagues, they couldn’t get their work done
efficiently or effectively. Medical students. The students with the worst
grades in year one of medical school were the ones who agreed
most strongly with statements like, I love
helping others. Now, if you carry that to
its logical extreme– AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: The doctor that
you trust is somebody who never wanted to help anyone. Salespeople. Dane and I found that the
salespeople with the lowest revenue were the ones also who
were passionately motivated to help their colleagues and
help their customers. And I had one salespeople put
it to me pretty bluntly. He said, look, I really want
to help my customers, which means I will never sell
them a product. So I found this to
be interesting. I also found it, for those of
you who are givers, to be a little bit sad. How many of you would
self-identify more as a giver than a matcher or a taker? OK, how many of you
self-identify as a giver but didn’t want to raise your hand
because you feel like that violates humility? AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: All right,
those are the real givers in the room. So I did think this was sad,
though, for those people who are givers. And so then I wanted to
know who’s at the top. If the givers are at the bottom,
then who’s the most likely to have the highest
productivity, the fewest mistakes, the best grades,
and, ultimately, the most revenue and sales? Get a show of hands on
this one as well. How many people think
the takers were most likely at the top? How many people think the
matchers are most likely at the top, ignoring my warning
that the most common can’t be overrepresented in one
part of the spectrum? How many people didn’t raise
their hand for either the takers or the matchers
just now? OK, good, now we have
everyone involved. Maybe you didn’t raise your
hand because you already anticipated the thing that took
me 10 years to figure out, which is it’s
the givers again. The givers are not only
overrepresented at the bottom, they’re also more common
at the top. The engineers not only with the
worst results but also the best results are the ones
who do a lot more favors than they get back. The takers and the matchers are
more likely to be in the middle when it comes to
their productivity and their error rates. Medical students with the best
grades, not just in year one but over a seven year period are
also the ones who say, I love helping others. And by the way, the medical
students seem to get better over time when they’re givers,
because you move from basically having to study
information independently to collaborating with fellow
physicians and also having to work closely with patients. And givers tend to really shine
in interdependent work, whereas they may struggle
a little bit more in independent work. In sales, Dane and I found that
giver salespeople who really loved helping colleagues
and customers actually brought in about 50%
more annual revenue than the takers and the matchers. So for me, that posed
two questions. One was, what do successful
givers do that the rest of us takers and matchers might
want to learn? And I think this is an exciting
question because these reciprocity styles
are not hard wired. They’re not fixed. In fact, they’re choices
we make in every single interaction. As a thought experiment,
think about the next person that you meet. And you could say, I’m going
to ask myself, do I want to just try to help this person
with no strings attached? Do I want to try to get
something from this person? Or do I want to make
an even trade? And the more that you make
those choices, the more obviously you define yourself
by one style or another. But because it’s a choice, it’s something we can all change. And maybe there are ways that
successful givers operate that would be interesting
and productive for takers and matchers. Second question that I was
curious about is, what happens to those givers at the bottom? And if you would like to be a
helpful person or a generous person, what are the traps that
you might fall into and how do you avoid them? Took me a couple hundred
pages to try to answer those questions. I’m not going to put you all
through that this morning. But what I want to do is just
give you a couple highlights of some of the things that I
learned that are described in more detail in the book. Overall, the thing that I was
really interested in is how do givers who succeed relate
to the people in their organizations or outside
of them? And so I end up looking at how
do givers build networks? How do they collaborate? How do they develop talent
in other people? How do they communicate and
influence and negotiate? And I’ll just give you a couple
of stories and data points from a few of those
perspectives, and then we can open it up for questions. So collaboration. How do givers succeed
in collaboration? Anybody recognize this man? He’s known as the genius behind
the most successful television show in history. AUDIENCE: “Muppets.” ADAM GRANT: No, but
it’s a good guess. Probably you’ve never
heard of him. I hadn’t heard of him either
when I came across his story. Although I later found out that
he invented a word that was uttered by my college
roommate every day for four years, which made me a
little bit unhappy. But this man is known as the
genius behind a really amazing television show. And he had a pretty
checkered past. He was an undergraduate, and he
ended up deciding that he was going to sell
a refrigerator. And he sold it to a freshman,
and he took the money, and he never delivered the
refrigerator. And he almost got kicked out of
college for that, and then he almost got kicked out again
when he smashed his dorm room window with an electric
guitar. And his one sort of
crowning moment in life was when he was– to that point, at least–
elected the president of “The Harvard Lampoon.” But
then he was– actually there was an attempted
overthrow, a coup, by his peers because he was
quote “not responsible enough.” And he ended up finishing
college. He decided that he was going to
make a living by betting on dog racing, greyhound tracks. And he spent two weeks holed in
a library trying to develop a mathematic, scientific way
of beating the system. Unfortunately, he ran out of
money a few days later and had to move in with his parents. So bad start to his career. But somehow he managed to get
a job writing for a little show called “Saturday Night
Live” in the 1980s. And one point in his “Saturday
Night Live” career– his name is George Meyer, by the way. George had a decision to make. He had two different
guests that were coming onto the show. One of them, the Material Girl
in the height of her fame, in her prime. The other we will say perhaps a
less desirable candidate to write a sketch for,
Jimmy Breslin. And George was trying to
figure out, OK, we need sketches for both
of these people. They’re going to be coming
on the show. And everybody’s flocking
to write for Madonna. Nobody wants to write
for Jimmy Breslin. They don’t think he’s very
fun or entertaining. And George says,
you know what? One of the best ways to be
successful if you’re working in a team or a group is to
try to make other people successful. If “Saturday Night Live” is
better, then I’m going to be better off too because
I’m a part of that. And so he engages in what gets
called at the National Outdoor Leadership School expedition
behavior. Basically saying, if you’re
going to go and climb a mountain, try and put the
mission ahead of your own personal interests
and desires. And he says, you know what? I’m going to submit a few
sketches for Madonna, but I’m going to do my best work
for Jimmy Breslin. And that’s really where my work
is needed, because so few people are wanting to contribute
good ideas there. And George ends up writing
this amazing skit. It’s called “Bond Villains on
a Talk Show.” And you get to see basically Breslin playing
a Bond Villain, and they’re comparing strategies
for attacking Bond. And that ends up basically
inspiring Mike Myers to do the “Austin Powers” movies, which
was kind of a cool thing to see happen. Well, if you look at what
happened to George next, he ended up moving out
to Colorado. He was working on a
Letterman script. It didn’t pan out, and he
decided he wanted to do his own comedy. And he knew he couldn’t do it
alone, so he reaches out to a bunch of his “Saturday
Night Live” buddies. And he was really torn about how
to do this, because for a lot of people George is a really
funny guy and he would be a threat. Right? You’re working in this zero sum
sort of competitive world of comedy, there are
only so many jobs. And George is afraid that if
he reaches out to people they’re not going to help him
because if he succeeds, that means they’re going to fail. But one of the things that
happened when George engaged in this kind of expedition
behavior is he showed that he was the kind of person who
cared about the group. He cared about other
people’s interests. And as a result, instead of
gunning for him, people wanted to support him. He kind of established himself
as a giver, and as a result, people were kind of rooting
for him when he was doing work, and they wanted to feel
like this is the kind of guy who deserved to succeed. Part of the reason for that is
most people are matchers. And if you’re a matcher, you
believe in a just world. You think what goes around
ought to come around. And that means when you see a
taker acting selfishly, you want to punish that person. Usually that means, Robb Willer
shows at Stanford, gossiping– sharing negative reputational
information so that takers cannot get away with exploiting
other people. Just as you can’t stand to see
a taker be selfish and get away with it, you also, if
you’re a matcher, don’t like to see generous people fail. And so when somebody’s a giver
and really helpful, you will often go on a mission to plot
that person’s well being. And I think that’s exactly what
happened to George Meyer. All these colleagues came out of
the woodwork and they said, yeah, we’ll contribute. George wanted to write this
little magazine called “Army Man.” It was going to be a
parody of the US military. And he reached out to all of
these colleagues, and they just gave away some of their
best comedy to him for free. One of them was a guy
named Jack Handey. And he wrote one of his earliest
“Deep Thoughts” pieces two years before it ever
appeared on the show for George and his little
“Army Man” magazine. George puts out the magazine. It has all this great
comedy in it. It catches the attention of a
guy by the name of Sam Simon, and Sam is just about to start
a little TV show called “The Simpsons.” George ends up getting invited
because of this comedy he was able to do to “The Simpsons,”
where he becomes an executive producer, wins a bunch of Emmys,
ends up contributing to a movie that grossed half a
billion dollars, and has a pretty good, successful
career. What’s interesting, though, is
that he contributed to over 300 “Simpsons” episodes, and
he only took credit as a writer on 12 of them. And I think this was part
of his giver style. But I think one of the things
that Robb Willer points out in his research is that groups
reward individual sacrifice. And this is one of the ways
that givers succeed in collaboration– looking for the unpopular tasks
and volunteering for them, and showing that they
actually care about the best interests of the group. And then when it comes time to
determine who should lead, who deserves opportunities, those
are the people who get rewarded and trusted
and respected. So that’s one example of the
kind of thing that we see givers do successfully
in collaboration. Now, some people will look at
this and say, this is crazy. This is not something that I
would recommend to somebody that I cared about. And if this video clip works,
I want to show you my first introduction to how most
people view givers. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -Huh. Still a 31 waist? -Yep. Since college. Hey, Lena’s Small’s
on this list. -Lena Small? -Yeah. She’s that girl I was going
to call for a date. She was unlisted, and now
here’s her number. -Oh, you are not gonna cop a
girl’s phone number off an AIDS charity list. -Elaine, you should admire me. I’m aspiring to date
a giving person. [LAUGHTER] -But you’re a taking person. -That’s why I should date
a giving person. If I date a taking person,
everyone’s taking, taking, taking. No one’s giving. It’s bedlam. So George. -Yeah. -Guess what? Lena found out how
I got her number. -Really? How’d she do that? -Eh, friend of a friend
of Susan’s. -My Susan? -(SHOUTING) Why’d you tell her? [LAUGHTER] -I had to, Jerry. It’s a couple rule. We have to tell each
other everything. -Well, you know what this
means, don’t you? -What? -You’re cut off. You’re out of the loop. [LAUGHTER] -You’re cut– you’re
cuting me off? No, no, no, Jerry,
don’t cut me off. -You leave me no choice. You’re the media now as
far as I’m concerned. -No, Jerry, come on. Please. It won’t happen again. -If you were in the mafia, would
you tell her every time you killed someone? -Hey, a hit is a totally
different story. [LAUGHTER] -I don’t know, George. -So Lena was upset, huh? -You know what? That was the amazing thing. -What, it didn’t bother her? -No, she said it was fine. Something very strange
about this girl. -What? -She’s too good. -Too good? -I mean, she’s giving and caring
and genuinely concerned about the welfare of others. I can’t be with someone
like that. [LAUGHTER] -I see what you mean. [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] ADAM GRANT: I think that’s
how a lot of people view givers, right? It’s a sign of weakness. But I actually think it can
be a source of strength. And one of the more interesting
ways that plays out is to look at how givers
actually communicate. I had a chance to get a personal
taste of this. A few years ago, shortly after I
finished my doctorate, I was asked to teach a group of
Air Force colonels. And I was supposed to teach them
how to lead and motivate. I was in my mid-20s, and most of
them were in their mid-50s. They were just like the guys out
of “Top Gun.” Most of them had flown thousands of hours
and had these really pretty badass nicknames like Stealth
and Gunner and Iceman. And I walked in, and I knew that
I needed to establish my credentials, right? Here was this kid,
half their age. And so I started talking a
little bit about my expertise, my experience, why I could maybe
share some knowledge that would be helpful to them. And it was a four-hour
experience, and I got the feedback from the
teaching forums. And it was pretty
darn painful. Some of the comments
have really burned themselves into my brain. But the one that really stuck
out the most was quote, “More knowledge in the audience than
on the podium.” It’s like, that is very sad. Thank you. The others were nicer, but
they said similar things. One person said, gosh,
the professors get younger every year. How can they possibly know
anything about leadership when they’ve never led, let
alone had a real job. And I was like, OK. So part of what I realized
there was that I was communicating a little bit
more like a taker does. Takers try to get respect
by gaining dominance. They try to be as confident
as possible. They try to make sure
there are not any chinks in their armor. And they want to make sure, as a
result, that people see them very positively. And that style didn’t feel
very comfortable for me. As a professor, at least, I felt
like my job was always to listen to students, to learn
from them, and then try to figure out what I knew that
might be helpful. And so I had another session
with a different group of Air Force colonels scheduled before
they decided to fire me altogether. And this time I decided that
instead of going with the really powerful, confident
approach, I would do something a little bit more powerless. And I opened up by saying, OK,
guys, I know what some of you are thinking right now. What can I possibly learn
from a professor who’s 12 years old? AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And there was
this dead silence. And one of the guys I was pretty
sure started to reach for his gun. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And then they all
started laughing, and one of them said, oh, there’s
no way you’re 12. I’m sure you’re at least 13. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And that sort of
became a running joke for the next four hours. And I noticed that I had really bonded with the audience. I think part of it was because
I had called out the elephant in the room. But afterward when I read
the feedback, it was night and day. A lot of them said, gosh, it was
a breath of fresh air to have a young professor who
could talk about the millennial generation. And I think that a lot of it– I delivered the exact
same material. A lot of it was the
vulnerability and humility to say, look, I don’t have
all the answers. And I may not be able to teach
you guys anything. And if you look at the data on
this, givers are a lot more comfortable doing that
than takers. Takers do not want to expose
their weaknesses, whereas givers are willing to
communicate in a much more authentic and honest, maybe even
self-deprecating way in order to form a genuine
connection with the people that they’re trying
to connect with. And I think there’s a great
example of this that dates back to the mid-1800s. Somebody that you may
have heard of, Abe Lincoln, was in a debate. And his opponent called him
“two-faced.” And I think a lot of takers would have been
offended by that. I think that Lincoln was a
really extraordinary example of a giver who was always
looking for other people’s best interests and how to
pursue and support them. And he didn’t even really
skip a beat. And he said, “You call
me two-faced. If I had another face, do you
really think I would wear this one?” AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And it’s a great
example of that kind of vulnerability and humility that
establishes a connection. I think that Lincoln was really
clever about it, too. He knew that his appearance was
something easy to laugh at, but also that it was not
going to call into question his competence. And so it was something that
he could easily be a little bit vulnerable about. There’s a classic study that
shows why this works. Elliot Aronson in the 1960s
asked people to listen to tapes of “Quiz Bowl” experts. Some of them were extremely
knowledgeable, others didn’t really have the answers to the
trivia questions that were being posed to them. And you’re listening to this
tape, you hear this candidate answering all these
questions right. And then some of the candidates
the tape just ends, and then others spill some
coffee on themselves and you hear the cup crash and the
person’s like, oh my gosh, I’m so clumsy. And you actually, it turns
out, like and respect the “Quiz Bowl” expert more when he
spills coffee on himself. So Aronson and his colleagues
call this the pratfall effect. And they say, look, we actually
identify with people more when they’re human. But interestingly, it doesn’t
work if the person is not “Quiz Bowl” competent. So if you got most of the
questions wrong and you spilled coffee on yourself, you
just look like an idiot. But I think that this is a lot
of what happens when givers communicate. There’s some really good
research by Alison Fragale at the University of North Carolina
who shows that we tend to think that powerful
speech, the confident, the assertive, the dominant, is
going to earn us status and trust and respect. But that that’s only true
if you’re really working independently, separately. If you have to collaborate, you
have to work in a team, or you have to have clients, you
will actually get more trust if you use a lot of ums and uhs
and ifs and hesitations and tag lines and qualifiers,
because what happens is when you speak in a more tentative,
soft-spoken way, people tend to assume that you have their
best interests at heart. And guess what? In a collaboration, we care at
least as much about whether you care about my best interests
as whether you’re competent and capable
and assertive. And again, I think this is
something that often works really well for givers
as they communicate. This willingness to defer to
other people, to show an interest in other people’s
opinions while they’re talking. Those are a couple of things
on communication I thought were interesting. One other thing I wanted
to highlight– burnout. Teacher burnout. Common problem. This is Conrey Callahan. She was a Teach for America
teacher who probably experienced the worst burnout
I’ve ever seen in a classroom. She has at Overbook High School
in Philadelphia where the graduation rate is abysmally
low, the crime rate is extremely high. There are students who actually
only come to school two or three days a year. And she was just exhausted
by these students who wouldn’t listen. And somehow she managed to turn
that around and actually end up getting a National
Teaching Award and stay longer with Teach for America
than any of the people in her cohort. And when I started to interview
her about why, she said some things that I thought
tracked really well with some recent data. The first thing she said was at
the height of her burnout she was getting up at 6:00 AM,
she was working ’til 1:00 AM usually, she was having to do
grading on the weekends. Instead of giving less,
she gave more. She started a nonprofit
organization called Minds Matter Philadelphia,
where she was tutoring kids on the weekends. And I was like, how could you
possibly burnout less by giving more? That, I think, defies every
principle of physics and chemistry I’ve ever learned. And she said, well, part of
what happened was in my everyday job I don’t feel like
I necessarily make a dent. I don’t think I have
an impact. Whereas when I’m working with
these kids on the weekends, these are high-achieving
low income kids. And I feel like I spend four or
five hours with them, and I’m actually helping them
get into college. And it renews my hope that
my regular teaching job can have an impact. And I think it reveals one
of the really interesting principles of giver burnout. Givers don’t burnout just
because they’re working too hard or giving too much. They burnout when they don’t
get to feel that they’re making the difference that
they had set out to make. And I think that Conrey’s idea
of starting this nonprofit was a really interesting way of not
only seeing more of her impact by trying to help
people who were really dedicated to school, but also
just created sort of a fresh experience of being in a
different setting and being able to renew a little
bit of energy. The other thing she did that I
think was really clever was she chunked her giving into
blocks, as opposed to sprinkling it out
across the day. There’s an experiment by Sonja
Lyubomirsky that looks at random acts of kindness. And you are either randomly
assigned to do one random act of kindness every day for a week
or five random acts of kindness in one day each week. And most people assume that you
should do them every day, and that way you feel like
you’re helpful every day and that will boost your
happiness. But Sonja finds the opposite,
that doing five random acts of kindness in one day actually
leads to greater happiness than doing one each
day for five days. We can speculate about
why that is. I think this research
is relatively new. But one of Sonja’s dominant
explanations is that you feel like you are actually
having an impact. When you do five acts of
meaningful helping a day, they add up, whereas when you
sprinkle them around it’s sort of a drop in the bucket, and it
doesn’t make you feel like you’re truly making
a difference. I think that that’s a really
interesting practice. So there’s one Fortune 500
company that actually goes out of its way to set quiet time
windows– this is Leslie Perlow’s research at Harvard
Business School– to say if you are an engineer,
you’re constantly interrupting and getting interrupted by
your colleagues, and it’s really hard to get your
own work done. So what if Tuesdays, Thursdays,
and Friday mornings from 9:00 to 12:00 there were no
interruptions and you could get your own work done. And then you have these windows
set aside where you can be helpful and
support others. When Leslie did that, this
particular company had 66% of engineers show above average
productivity. And at the end of the day they
launched their product, which was a laser printer, on time
for only the second time in division history. And I think this, again,
illustrates some things that givers can do to
avoid burnout. Don’t help all the people
all the time with all the requests. Don’t drop everything to support
the people around you, but rather say I’m going to
reserve windows where I’m going to be helpful to the
people around me, and then also I’m going to have times
that I block out for my own individual work. Those are some of the things
that I wanted to talk about. Just a few other things you
might find in the book if you are curious. How do givers build networks,
and how do those look different from takers
and matchers? How does “Fortune’s”
best networker– the guy, not the cat– claim that he built an
extraordinary network? Some of you may know this man. Just through random
acts of kindness. And does it actually work? Leadership. How does this guy, CJ Skender,
an accounting professor, because he’s a giver, know
that this woman, Beth Traynham, whose own mother told
her she couldn’t add or tell time, would one day
become a national gold medalist in accounting? And how did he know that this
guy, Reggie Love, who was written off by many as an
athlete, would one day become President Obama’s body man? What do givers know about
spotting talent in others that takers and matchers
miss out on? Decision making. Why does a basketball executive
named Stu Inman pass up the chance to choose Michael
Jordan and end up getting a draft bust, Sam Bowie,
and then hang on to Sam Bowie for four years instead
of cutting his losses? What does it take to get other
people to avoid the trap that psychologists call escalation
of commitment to a losing course of action and instead
say, you know what, it’s over man, just let her go? AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER[ ADAM GRANT: I know sometimes
that one hits a little too close to home. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And then how do you
avoid being treated as a doormat if you’re a giver? What prevents you from
becoming a pushover? How do you deal with a taker and
still maintain your sense of concern for others
and generosity? But my favorite question, is
it possible to turn a taker into a giver? Maybe not in all of their
interactions, right? But can we nudge people more in
the giving direction in our relationships with them? Maybe. One of my favorite ways to do
that, some of you have been part of already, it’s called the
reciprocity ring, invented by Wayne Baker at the University
of Michigan and Cheryl Baker at Humax
Networks. The idea is you gather a group
of 10 or 20 or 30 people, and you ask them all to
make a request. Something meaningful, personal,
or professional that they want but can’t
get on their own. And then you ask everybody else
in the group just to try to use their knowledge and their
networks to make the request happen. And some pretty amazing things
happen when everybody adopts the norm of giving and says,
we’re just going to all try to support each other. Couple examples. Earlier this year a woman came
in said, my hero is a man who’s a blogger, but he’s
also a minimalist. And he’s impossible to
contact because he likes a simple life. I’ve wanted for six years to
meet him and one, thank him, and two, ask him how
I can help him. But I don’t know how to
get in touch with him. Could anybody help me? And one person in this room
says, yeah, you know what? I know a blogger
who knows him. And they’ve been introduced,
and they’re meeting up for dinner next week. I’m very excited to
see how it goes. I think it probably wouldn’t
have happened unless she had access to this network of people
who in that moment were willing to act like givers. And guess what? Because the requests are
visible, it’s really hard to be a taker. Because when you make that ask,
if you don’t help other people, nobody wants
to support you. There are a few people in this
room who were present for this particular request in my
classroom when a student named Michelle said she had a friend
who had her growth stunted as a child and she could never find
the right clothing, could anybody help her? And another student, Jessica,
raised her hand, and she said, yeah, I have an uncle in
the garment business. And I’m happy to reach
out to him. And three months later,
custom clothing arrived on her doorstep. And for the first time in the
life of Hope, Michelle’s friend, she actually had
clothing that fit her right. My favorite request, though,
of all time was a student named Alex who came in one day
we were running one of these reciprocity ring exercises. And he said, I think the closest
thing to nirvana in life is riding a
roller coaster. And I came to Wharton because I
one day would love to run a place like Six Flags. But strangely, Six Flags does
not recruit at the Wharton School of Business. So could anybody help me figure
out how to break into the industry? Another student, Andrew, raises
his hand and says, yeah, I think my dad knows the
ex-CEO, I’m happy to get you guys in touch. Two weeks later, they have a
cell conversation, and Alex comes into class the next day. I’m so excited to find
out about it. So Alex, how’d it go? And Alex was like, I learned
something really important from that conversation– I will never want to work
in that industry ever. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And I was like, OK,
at least you were able to rule that out. And because of that, I am proud
to say that today, at this very moment, Alex is
living his dream happily employed as a management
consultant. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: Anyway, I’m
happy to talk further. If you check out the “Give and
Take” site, you can rate yourself on a survey and figure
out do you tend to think most like a giver,
a taker, or a matcher? Although you all know too much
now, so your ratings will be fatally flawed. There’s also a 360 assessment. You can anonymously ask anybody
who knows who to rate you, and then basically find out
do I see myself the same way other people see me? And then there’s also a Nominate
a Giver feature, sort of like a bigger version of
the way that peer and spot bonuses often work, where you
can write a little paragraph to recognize somebody
that you think has been really generous. And we’re going to basically
recognize one a week based on voting for the best example
of a successful giver. All right, happy to open
it up for questions. Who’s the first victim? Tina, “Is there a difference
between men and women?” In general, or in “Give
and Take?” AUDIENCE: “Give and Take.” ADAM GRANT: Yeah. I really try to avoid this
question, because I wanted to write about people,
not sort of divide the world by genders. But the data on this I think
are pretty interesting. So Alice Eagly and her
colleagues have meta-analyzed about three decades of studies
looking at are men or women more likely to help others? And they find that the answer
is no, they’re actually equally likely to be helpful,
but that they specialize in helping in different domains. So women tend to do more helping
behaviors in close relationships. They spend more time helping
their friends, their family members, and their
close colleagues. Whereas men are more likely,
it seems from the data, to help strangers, especially in
emergency situations, which I think has an interesting
macho implication. Oh, I must be tough and
rescue someone now. Arrr. But I think a lot of people
stereotype women as being more likely to be givers because a
lot of the most important giving that happens in the
world is the close relationship based giving, and
I would love to see more men acting like women. AUDIENCE: So you said that for
givers, they’re at the bottom and then at the top. Has that been filtered out
by intelligence level? So I’m wondering if you get to
a point where things become too easy so you start helping
people if you’re at the top versus for some people it might
be you just help because you know that’s something
you can do. ADAM GRANT: Yeah. So intelligence is a really
interesting question. In my data, intelligence are
close to orthogonal– intelligence measures are to
“Give and Take.” So you can find very, very bright givers,
very bright takers. There is some evidence. Russell James, an economist, has
actually shown the smarter you are, the more you give
to charity, even after controlling for your education
levels, your socioeconomic status. And the idea is basically that
if you’re incredibly high in intellectual horsepower, it’s
easier for you to appreciate all the different ways that you
could be benefiting others in the long run. I think there’s a lot
a debate about it. But there’s another study
by [? Millet and ?] DeWitt that actually shows that
when you give people an intelligence test and then you
ask them to play a prisoner’s dilemma game where they have to
keep money for themselves or give it to others, the
smarter you are, the more you give to others. That being said, the
correlations are so small that I don’t think they’re
practically that meaningful. In the studies that Dane and I
did of salespeople we actually controlled for intelligence
and found that even after taking that out of the equation
the giver factor was basically a very strong
predictor of both hitting the bottom and the top
of sales revenue. The other intelligence data
point that I’ve seen is there’s a great study by Kim and
Glomb called “Get Smarty Pants” which shows the smarter
you are, the more likely you are to be bullied by your
colleagues who are jealous, unless you’re a giver. And that goes back to the point
we want to take down really bright, successful
takers, but we want to support and lift up the bright,
successful givers. Next question. AUDIENCE: Hi. [INAUDIBLE] things I loved for
the session. It was really interesting. Going back to the point of
showing vulnerability publicly, I was wondering
if that changes from culture to culture. Because in certain cultures I
have the feeling that the more senior or the more professional
you are, [? public ?] vulnerability might
be seen as something quite [? narrative ?]
intellectually. ADAM GRANT: Yeah, I think
there’s a huge cross-cultural difference there. One of the best ways, I think,
to think about that is to go back to Hofstede’s classic
research on power distance and say that in cultures where
people accept basically steep hierarchies as appropriate and
correct, it’s a little bit riskier to open up and
be vulnerable. I also think, though, that that
was maybe the situations where it’s most powerful and
disarming for somebody that you expect to have this
incredibly polished presentation style to actually
open up and say, look, I’m just human, too. Aronson’s research actually
showed that it will depend on the audience, though, how
people react to it. So the people who like those
who sort of spill coffee on themselves or stumble the most
are those with average self-esteem. Those are the people who see
themselves as human, and they like other people to be human. Whereas if you have really high
self-esteem, you tend to want other people to appear
really confident. If you have low self-esteem,
you just don’t like other people. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: That may be a slight
caricature of the data. AUDIENCE: Hey, Adam. Katie Everett, fellow
Harvard diver. Hi. I am wondering– I have my daughter here today,
Grace, who’s five. It’s take your child
to work day. And I love your work and have
been thinking about how do you foster this kind of mindset
in your children? I’m just wondering if you have
any insights into how to do something like that. ADAM GRANT: Yeah. First of all, I think it should
be called give your child to work day, not take. No. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: I was working
on that all night. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: No. I think that it’s a really
interesting question. As an organizational
psychologist rather than a developmental psychologist, it
really stretches far beyond my areas of expertise. So I’m more of a consumer
in this area than I think a producer. But I’ve had a lot of fun
reading some of the research on what causes some people
to grow into givers. And I’ll just highlight
a couple of patterns. I’m happy to share more details
if anybody wants to read the studies. One is parenting styles
are obviously huge. If you are a role model as a
parent as a giver, obviously your children are more likely
to follow suit. Also, there’s some really cool
data showing that parents who end up basically giving their
children a lot of freedom are more likely to encourage their
children to become givers. Whereas those who restrict
freedom then essentially raise kids who want to restrict the
freedom of the other people around them, which is sort of,
I think, a little bit more of a taker move. The other really interesting
data point on this is siblings. So this is Paul van
Lange’s research. What Paul shows is that a lot
of people think first borns are more likely to be givers
because you get a lot of responsibility training if you
have younger siblings. You have to share and care
and feed and babysit. And it’s actually the opposite
in a weird sense, which is just don’t be the last born. As long as you have at least one
younger sibling, and then the more of them you have, the
more of this responsibility training you get and the more
you tend to gravitate in the giver direction. One other sibling pattern that
I think is really interesting is van Lange shows that people
who do a lot of generous giving are twice as likely to
have sisters as brothers. And you could ask, well, back
to Tina’s question, why do sisters turn us into givers? And there’s a debate
about that. I don’t want to speculate
too far. But two of the popular
explanations are one, women basically earlier on start
giving, and so that rubs off on their siblings. And then two, there’s
some data– Jonathan Haidt argues that
girl babies are literally cuter than boy babies, and so
they attract more empathy and then people want to help them
more, and then they get into the habit. Again, this is going very
far beyond data. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: We have one more
question, and then I have two things I want to
say to wrap up. AUDIENCE: Yeah, I was wondering
if you had looked at how the proportion of givers
and takers can affect the effectiveness of an entire
organization. Because one of the things that
I’ve found since I joined Google is part of the strengths
is that everyone on average is much more
helpful than they are in other companies. ADAM GRANT: Yes. AUDIENCE: And I think that
really makes the organization much better, and even
the products that we produce much better. ADAM GRANT: Yeah,
I totally agree. I’m probably preaching
to the choir on this. So I wrote a little article
that’s in “McKinsey Quarterly” this month that summarizes
some of the evidence. Probably the most powerful
data point is Nathan Podsakoff’s meta analysis of
organizational citizenship behaviors looking at when more
employees do a lot of helping and giving behaviors, what
happens to entire business units or organizations? And showing that you can just
take the frequency of helping between employees on sort of a
daily basis and use that to predict with surprising power
organizational profits, efficiency metrics, customer satisfaction, employee retention. And I think that this is
actually a big part of Google’s success. As an outsider, I’ve just been
amazed by the number of people who are already givers who come
here, and also the giving norms that people get
socialized to right off the bat. And I think that may be very
well one of the secrets to this company’s success. So on that note, I want
to say two things. First of all, thank you
so much for having me. It’s always a real delight and
honor to have the chance to speak to Googlers. Because some of you already know
this, but if I knew that a company like this existed I
probably never would have gone into academia. AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: And it’s just
really, really exciting to work with a company that not
only has a lot of employees that are givers, but also has
a mission that’s so much about– well, at least
not taking, right? If you talk about sort of
the no evil policy. But also the genuine idea of
actually democratizing information and making it
available to other people. It’s something that I feel
really passionately about, and I feel lucky to have the chance
to work with you all. Second thing I wanted to do is
I think that a lot of people have a hard time recognizing
successful givers. Because even in an organization
with a lot of givers, the takers are
the ones who are sort of in the spotlight. And the givers are usually
comfortable sort of hanging out in the shadows. And I wanted to try to solve
that problem in two ways. One is we have some postcards
that you can hand out to anybody that you think has been
a giver, to recognize them for that. Originally they said, “Thank
you for being a giver,” and some people said, oh, that’s
kind of cheesy. Especially men said that. And so we changed it. They say, “Congratulations,
you’re not a taker.” AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER] ADAM GRANT: So you can
pass those around. There are more to download on
the “Give and Take” website if you want them. The last thing I wanted to do
is just thank some of the amazing givers who have helped
me a ton with this research since a lot of you
are in the room. If I can ask you to stand up
so that we can applaud you. First of all, the Google People
Analytics folks who are here, please stand. [APPLAUSE] ADAM GRANT: So much of the
research in the book and the ideas in it were shaped by the
work that we’ve done together, and in particular Prasad
and Catherine have been extraordinarily helpful. Secondly, former students. [APPLAUSE] ADAM GRANT: In particular, I
want to thank Jackie and Jeff from the Impact Lab
who actually did a lot of this research. And Jackie for telling me that I
should write a book, which I wouldn’t have done had she not
encouraged me to do it. And then finally,
Amy Reznesky. [APPLAUSE] ADAM GRANT: I know a lot of you
know Amy already, but she is the ultimate role
model when it comes to being a giver. As a professor, I have learned a
ton from her, and every idea in the book was already modeled
by her long before I had a chance to study it. And I feel incredibly
fortunate to have her as a colleague. And she’s going to turn really
red, but if you will all thank her again for me. [APPLAUSE] ADAM GRANT: Thank you. You’re free to go.

13 thoughts on “Adam Grant: “Give and Take” | Talks at Google

  1. Really enjoyed the book. Is there an assessment tool that you use or can recommend for determining whether a person is a giver or taker?

  2. Adam Grant is a tool, writes a book about givers and takers, gives a talk saying there are givers, takers and matchers, duh genius, says givers are at the top and bottom of corporate positions, boring once more, wants to know the difference, then goes on to say he became human in front of some troops by pointing out the elephant in the room (himself) the idiot who knows nothing, those troops were right. I'm sorry but I learned nothing.

  3. The genius of Adam Grant… tells you there are givers, takers and matchers, the top and bottom corporate positions are givers, he became human by pointing out to troops he knew nothing. I have to agree with them, I learned absolutely nothing.

  4. 44:04 Regarding women being givers in close relationships and men being givers to strangers, the reason is that women, in general, are governed by stage-3 morality ("Good-girl" morality or ethics of care) but men can go up to stage-6 (Universal ethics or ethics of justice). Stage-3 morality is selfish in the sense that you don't want to waste your good behavior on someone (e.g. stranger) who will not have a chance to repay the behavior in future; in essence, there is an expectation of a return/reward (at least psychological, like respect) for good behavior.

  5. At 30:34, I believe it would it makes more sense to say it in reverse. That, 'they've never had a real job, let alone having been a leader'. I'm pretty sure. Because the part that comes after 'let alone' must be more demanding. Do you think he messed up or he really believes that leading is easier than having a real job? I know I'm going crazy on him lolll.

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