2016 has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. For many, it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions that reestablished some pretty clear, ‘Us vs Them’ mentalities. With the dust settling and Christmas and Chanukah quickly approaching, we’re reminded it’s the time to set aside our differences and embrace the generosity of spirit.
Which brings me to the point of the article, which is—how the notion of being grateful and generous isn’t just limited to your personal life, but can also have a profound impact on your business relationships.
As stated in an article last fall by UP Business Communications, “neuroscientists out of USC found a direct link between the neutral pathways of gratitude and generosity. They’re inherently coupled, like two sides of the same coin. This means that for you as the giver, and your business associate or client as the receiver, the brain activity going on is similar.”
Being generous in the business world is not always the first priority, especially in the competitive world of Digital Media, Media Technology, AdTech, and SaaS. But it is something that can help you in your career in the long-term, and help build quality relationships now and into the future. When you are generous, people are grateful. And besides, as found in a study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, giving makes the giver happy. And let’s not forget that happiness and overall employee satisfaction, both personally and professionally can have an impact on the organization. Some studies show that satisfaction can lead to lower turnover, higher productivity, lower stress, and overall higher client satisfaction.
So, what does it meant to be generous at work?
- Help a co-worker out with a project when they have asked (or offer if you see them struggling).
- Share information that helps others in their job.
- Share the credit for a good idea, if others participated in its development.
- Make your boss’s life easier, and think of next steps so your boss doesn’t have to.
- Be a mentor and gracious with your time, for those coming up within your company.
- Provide a service or activity that others will enjoy. For instance, start a co-ed soccer/softball team and participate as a company.
- Volunteer for a charity event related to our industry. Some studies show that volunteering at least 2 hours a week can have a significant impact on overall satisfaction and happiness.
Specifically regarding clients, there is always the option for Digital Salespeople in sending a gift for an anniversary, the holidays, a child’s birthday, etc. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Be appropriate. As much as you want to win or keep the business, don’t go overboard. It should be a gift, not a “bribe”. In fact, most companies have a pretty detailed gift policy, so read it before you buy. You don’t want to make the recipient uncomfortable.
- What do you know about the person? How well do you know them? Try to make the gift something they will appreciate, and remember.
- Antonio Porchia, the Argentinian poet said, “I know what I have given you… I do not know what you have received.” Make sure the person receiving a gift does not misconstrue the intent.
From the UP Business Communications article, “Why does this matter for business? When your brain experiences gratitude/generosity, it activates neural pathways connected with positive emotion, relationship, fairness and economic decision-making. People’s brains literally function differently when dealing with people they have invested in or feel grateful toward. And research has found that gratitude is integral to happiness, health, and social bonds. This takes the old adage, “People do business with people they like,” to the next level.”
Generosity and gratitude are the front and back of a hand; if you initiate one, it will spontaneously elicit an impulse for the other. So an act of generosity can start a spiral of benevolence and goodwill. This is a process that if repeated, can grow over time and help establish you as a leader and someone that is thought of and noticed in the Digital Media, Media Technology, AdTech and/or SaaS business community. Being known as a generous professional will help you develop stronger relationships that can translate into serendipitous openings and opportunities.