Give a Little, Get a Lot!

Sounds like the ultimate ROI, doesn’t it?!? A simple act to achieve success is the basic act of giving. Giving a little will help you not only achieve success, but to further it once you have even a modicum of it.

Giving a little can get a lot.

This is one of the easiest things to do for others because it’s so basically human: do something nice for someone! Buy them a cup of coffee, bring them back a gift from a trip, refer them to a great book you’ve read, give them tickets or a gift certificate.

While these are nice gestures for our family and spouses, I’m specifically talking about achieving career and economic success in this article. That is, giving to your boss or someone who is in a position of power or influence over you.

Let’s rephrase my previous statement: Buy your boss a cup of coffee, bring your boss back a gift from a trip, refer your boss to a great book you’ve read, give your boss tickets or a gift certificate. You see how that works?

There are 4 things to consider here when you are strategizing on giving your boss something:

  1. The simplest thing is to buy someone a cup of coffee – however, make sure they like coffee. Find out what they like, if they are tea drinkers, go with that. On a cold day, buy a hot beverage; on a warm day, buy a cold one.
  2. When you give your boss something, play it down. Don’t act like you’re doing him/her a BIG favor, just engage in the excitement they will have at receiving it and receive joy from that fact. Play it down.
  3. There is a neurological response that humans have when receiving something unexpected that creates pathways in the brain. It’s more than a simple memory association, it’s much stronger because of the tactile and emotional connections that your gift has made.
  4. Don’t give too big or too often – you don’t want to be a suck up! Revisit #1, you want to buy something that is subtle and not something that is going to set off alarm bells by the person receiving it! If you buy your boss front row tickets to a game or concert, that’s going to signal him/her that you’re a suck up. Think on the level of coffee, or just get coffee!

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Actually, the best time to give a little to get a lot is right before you are about to ask for something yourself.

That’s right, doing someone else a favor is one of the best success strategies in asking them for a favor yourself; it’s harder to refuse you then.

The “a lot” part of the Give a Little, Get a Lot principle comes in your ROI. The simple act of buying a $2.00 cup of coffee can increase your net pay in asking for a raise or lead to a net profit in a business deal. What goes around comes around. Besides, it feels great to do something nice for someone.

My family always told me that when someone does something nice for you, you always “reciprocate.” Giving and getting is as old as the ancient barter systems, it’s as modern as our new economic entanglements, it’s the foundation for establishing relationships, it’s one of the most practical and effective secrets to success.

give-little-get-lot plane

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