Givers, Takers and Matchers

Bunmi Jembola

Adam Grant wrote about a subtle cause for professional and life failure or success and this is particularly relevant to the salesman.

He spoke about: Givers, Takers and Matchers

By his explanation

Takers- Are those who wouldn’t do a thing except it becomes obligatory. They would rather take the lion credit for some shared obligations and offer no help to others.

Givers- Are those who would rather help; offer their time, do more in a shared obligation and go the extra mile without being told.

Matchers- Are those who would only give to others from whom they have received, the “an eye for an eye” sort of people.

Here are the interesting outcomes of his research:

  1. The worst performers in an organization are often givers- You’d have thought that doing good should lift them; right? But hell no! Such people often spend much of their time helping others and they never get to help themselves where it matters the most.


  1. The best performers are SURPRISINGLY not takers- They are often pulled down by other takers. The first job of an aspiring “cheat king” is often to pull down the reigning “cheat king”. Matchers also ensure the best opportunities do not reach takers because they hate the injustice of earning where you didn’t sow; for which Takers are so very notorious.


  1. The best performers are also not matchers- The problem with matching is “limited expectations”. Anyone who has the matching mentality will often not expect help from persons they have never helped. Now, how many people can you possibly help? In the contrary; givers are often freer to request help from anyone since they are also always willing to pay it forward.
  2. Interestingly; the best performers are again givers- Givers are so well represented at the opposite ends of the performance spectrums: The poorest and best performers.

Now, what makes the difference between the two classes of Givers? The givers, who do well, are those who know the limit of their giving. They focus essentially on helping others on a few; well defined things and focus on offering such help very efficiently that it does not have to waste their time. They could even train some other persons on how to offer such help in the future.

As a professional; it is important to be a giver. You need people to plot your good in your absence to move ahead real quickly. That can’t happen if you are seen as a nasty taker. Even then; you don’t want to give until you burn.

Let’s take this into the sales domain a bit. Salesmen who offer help to other team members need to understand the decent limit. While you offer help to other sales team members it is important to offer the kind of help that can add value to the entire team. Simply making sales efforts and recording the wins in a colleague’s account will be counter-productive and this is what the majority do. You would help up making them lazy. Rather offer help on strategies, personal growth, and training. In a few instances you can open up selling opportunities; but by all means ensure they take ultimate responsibility for their own growth and progress.


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