By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.
The holidays are here! To celebrate the season, our custom is to exchange gifts. While we enjoy receiving gifts, there is also joy in giving, and benefits too, business and otherwise.
I used to belong to BNI, the short name for Business Network International. BNI chapters are everywhere, oftentimes with multiple chapters in the same community. BNI’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs and sales persons grow their business through word of mouth. Only one person per industry niche is allowed in a chapter, no competitors allowed. Chapter members are encouraged to get to know each other well enough that they are confident and comfortable referring business to each other. BNI emphasizes the idea that to receive referrals you need to give referrals; hence their registered trademark motto, Givers Gain®.
The “givers gain” concept goes further than growing your business. Healthcare is built on the concept of helping others; helping others recover from injury or illness, helping other maintain health, even helping others die with dignity. Healthcare can be delivered in a mechanical way, but if you want to feel better about yourself, if you want a boost of purpose in your life, if you want to be a more effective leader, do something nice for others by serving first! Research backs it up!
Michael Steger, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Colorado State, conducted a study and concluded what you may have concluded intuitively, that when you help others, you feel happier. Wilhelm Hofmann, Ph.D., a behavioral science professor at the University of Cologne, led a study that concluded when people do the right thing, they enjoy a lasting sense of purpose; taking the moral high ground thru daily actions leads to a meaning filled life. Patricia Frazier, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, found that when an individual’s sense of meaning is threatened, people can restore it by acting with a social conscience.
Effective leaders, regardless of the industry they are in, understand the concept that givers gain. Effective leaders apply this concept by serving others first, by serving their organization and by serving the members of their organization by encouraging them all to embrace BNI’s motto: Givers Gain®. As the old saying goes, it is better to give than to receive, something effective leaders practice every day, not just during the holidays.
Happy Boxing Day!
Happy St. Stephen’s Day
Happy New Year!