It’s productive to be nice.

hands helpI just read a New York Times article titled “Is Giving the Secret of Getting Ahead?” You may want to read it yourself.

About four weeks ago, I posted a blog titled “Keeping score…” That posting discussed how we could measure and encourage students to assist others. And, by assisting others, perhaps we will make the entire group or community a better and more productive place. Well, maybe I was four weeks ahead of my time.

Today I am reading about Adam Grant, a psychologist who studies group dynamics and is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton (age 31).

It appears that Dr. Grant has found that strategic altruism can be a strong motivator. In his book, Give and Take, he documents several studies supporting this thesis: When people are given the opportunity to help others, or if they can see how their work output will directly help someone else, motivation to be more productive increases, and consequently, so does output.

I know several people at Galloway who are driven and productive professionals. They are, perhaps, some of the best in their field. They are certainly some of the most motivated and productive people I know. As I think about them, one observation I can make about all of them: they are always doing things for other people. And, when they are not, they get pretty anxious about it.

Is altruism something that can be taught? Or are we born either a giver, a matcher or a taker? Read the article. It’s pretty interesting.

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