Why it still pays to be generous

Why it still pays to be generous

I had a different blog planned for this week, but due to some logistics my piece and interview on Storytelling will be delayed a few weeks. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

As I considered what to write instead I took a walk down blog lane and found one of the early pieces I wrote for this publication – originally published at the beginning of October, 2007!

More than a few things have changed – the magazine that was called Ode is now called the Intelligent Optimist and I get it online not by mail. And today the “sharing” economy alluded to by the article is in full swing with one of the key currencies being generosity – of spirit, of time, of information, of belongings…

So from my archives an idea and entreaty as relevant today as it was then –be generous. Here is the original post:

I was reading one of my favorite magazines, Ode, this week. My new issue just arrived in the mailbox and as always it is packed with great thinking and inspiration from around the world. One article especially grabbed my attention. It was focusing on a specific cultural attribute that the Swedish writer Stefan Einhorn believes makes an organisation successful – to be generous.

Now there is a word and value that you don’t hear very often in connection with business! Be generous, not from a philanthropic point of view – he wasn’t talking about supporting the starving masses (though I am sure he would be for that as well). A couple of weeks ago I talked about inconvenient values, but here is one that is not only rarely inconvenient, it has the power to transform. The thesaurus tells us the opposite of generous is stingy, meagre and lacking, and uncomfortably they are probably more accurate descriptions of many organisational environments (and their resulting brands).

We tend to treat our work lives like fields of battle, with Sun Tzu and Machiavelli the play books for success, which is only measured in terms of winners and losers. How about we look at things from a different, more generous perspective?

Be generous with each other, treat your fellow workers with respect, praise good work and deeds, support your team. Be generous with your knowledge, share what you know instead of trying to use it as a source of power. Be generous with your time, a little effort and attention can go a long way.

Be generous.

See you next week with “The better angels of advertising”.

Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.




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