Adam Grant has been recognized as Wharton’s top-rated teacher for five consecutive years and is considered by many one of the world’s most influential thinkers.  An organizational psychologist, Adam studies how we can find motivation, meaning and lead more generous and creative lives.

I recently finished reading his incredible book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.  I cannot recommend it enough for anyone leading high-performance teams.

Earlier today, a friend forwarded me a recent TED Talk by Adam which you can watch above.  During his 13-minute speech, he discussed a section from the book on employees he refers to as “Givers” and “Takers”.  All leaders should watch his session and then determine where each of your team members lands in the Giver/Taker matrix.  It may change your entire HR process.

The following are 27 lessons on The Paranoia, Generosity And Success Of Your Employees from Adam’s TED Talk.  And if you have not purchased Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World click HERE  or on the image above and do so today.

  1. Paranoia is found everywhere.  Paranoia is caused by people that I call ‘Takers’.  Takers approach all interactions by saying, ‘What can you do for me?’.
  2. ‘Givers’ approaches most interactions by saying, ‘What can I do for you?’
  3. Your style is how you treat most people most of the time.  Your default.
  4. Not all Takers are narcissist.  Some are just Givers who got burned one too many times.
  5. Most people are right in the middle between Givers and Takers.  We call them Matchers.  Quid-pro-quo.
  6. Givers are often sacrificing themselves but they make their organizations better.
  7. Givers spend a lot of times helping the team and suffer along the way.
  8. Takers tend to rise quickly but also fall quickly.  They fall at the hands of Matchers.
  9. The best results belong to the Givers.
  10. Givers are over-represented at the bottom and the top of every success metric.
  11. Givers are your most valuable people but you must protect them from burnout.
  12. You have to find small ways to add large value to other people’s lives.
  13. Crate an organization where help-seeking where asking for help is the norm.
  14. For givers, it’s OK to be a receiver too.
  15. 75-90% of all giving in an organization starts with a request.  A lot of don’t ask – they don’t want to look incompetent.  They don’t know who they can trust.
  16. Be thoughtful of who you let on your team.
  17. Get the right people on the bus.
  18. The negative impact of a Taker on team is double or triple of the positive impact of the Giver.
  19. Let one Taker on a team and the Giver will stop helping.
  20. Effective hiring and screening and team building is about weeding out the Takers.
  21. Agreeable and disagreeable (people) is your outer veneer.  Taking and giving is your inner-motives. 12:20
  22. Can you give me the names of four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?  The Takers will give you four names and they will all be more influential than them.  Because Takers are great at kissing up and kicking down.  Givers are more likely to name people below them in the hierarchy.
  23. You can learn a lot about character when watching how someone treats their restaurant server.
  24. Success is really more about contribution.
  25. The most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed.
  26. We can turn paranoia upside down.  There is a term for that – pronoia.  There is a world where people behind-your-back are helping you succeed.
  27. I want to live in a world where Givers succeed.

What is one thing you learned from Adam’s thoughts?


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