Global Leadership Summit 2015 Session 3: Adam Grant

  • What causes paranoia in organizations? 2015 Adam Grant Low Res Web_Color Circle (1)
  • What does it take to own a face like this (baby emoji pic)?
  • “There are only two types of people in the world: those who divide the world into two categories and those who don’t.”

Takers, Givers & Matchers

  • Takers – you think of every interaction as an opportunity to get something from everyone without giving anything
  • Givers – help others, often with no strings attached; provide mentoring. It’s the easiest way to make a difference. We often reserve giving for family and friends
  • Matchers – even balance of good and take, quid pro quo
  • What’s your style (the way you treat most of the people most of the time)?
  • Narcissists are one type of taker. Another type of taker is a person who used to be a giver or matcher and got burned one too many times. Third type of taker is the pyschopath.

Which Style Sinks to the Bottom?

  • Engineers, medical students, sales people measured to see what style performed the best.
  • Givers are the worst performers.
  • What is the cost of generosity in sales? If I can be 100% candid, I care so much about our customers that I would never sell them one of our crappy products.
  • Many of us wander around thinking we’re givers while we act like takers.
  • In groups, givers thrive. They’re willing to do what it takes for others to thrive.

Who Rises to the Top?

  • Takers are not the best performers. They rise quickly, but they fall quickly to the hand of the takers.
  • Matchers serve as the karma police. If you’re a matcher, there is nothing you hate more than seeing a taker taking.
  • Most matchers use the ancient deadly weapon: gossip. They tell others about the takers.
  • Other takers hate to see takers succeed. The people who blow the whistle the loudest are often takers. Example: baseball and professional cycling.
  • Data shows that the best results belong to givers.  Givers are over represented in both extremes.
  • Givers fail in the short run but succeed in the long term.
  • Cinnabon’s Kat Cole story
  • If you want a culture of givers, what type of people should you hire? The negative impact of a taker is double or triple the positive impact of a giver.
  • One bad apple spreads, but one good egg does not make a dozen.
  • Effective hiring is not about bringing in the givers, it is about weeding out the takers. In the presence of givers, matchers become givers too.
  • IKEA hiring cartoon
  • There are disagreeable givers in our midst. They challenge the status quo. They ask tough questions. They have a bad user interface but a great operating system.
  • There are agreeable takers, also known as the faker. Canada has the highest agreeable score. “As Canadian as possible under the circumstances.”
  • Just because someone is nice to you, does not mean that they actually care about you.

Spotting a Taker

  • They will use more “me” in failures than success.
  • What percentage do people in your industry take at least $10?  The higher the estimate that people are thieves, the greater the likelihood that they are thieves.
  • Takers anticipate more selfish behavior among others. Its how they justify their taking.

Redefine Giving

  • The most powerful connector on LinkedIn. His name is Adam Rifkin. He’s been pretty successful. He retired in his 30s. He’s an extreme giver. He bought a non-profit network to help people get their businesses off the ground. “In the end only kindness matters.”
  • “If you want to be a successful giver, don’t try and be Mother Theresa or Gandhi. Do more 5 minute favors.” – Adam Rifkin
  • Once you hit 100 hours of volunteering a year, that’s the sweet spot. Are you doing enough giving?

Encourage Help-Seeking

  • If no one asks for help, how cna any body help?
  • The Reciprocity Ring
  • Takers become more generous because all the help is out in the public.
  • If you can do this right, you can redefine success. Paranoia will melt away. Instead pronoia will develop.


  1. […] should mention that Trey McClain took great notes on all of these, and you can read his notes on this talk here. That would probably be good, since Trey had already read this guy’s book and was a big fan […]

    August 11, 2015
  2. […] had to agree. I had just recently listened to a conference speaker on the subject. Research done by Adam Grant reveals that in companies, ‘takers’ rise quickly but eventually fall as […]

    November 15, 2016

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