The more I become absorbed in social media, the deeper I have reflected on the underpinning value of generosity which I see woven through much of the system on which it is built.
I remember in the very early days of world wide web people commenting that it would never take off because people would not be willing to donate their time and their insight without being paid. How wrong that assumption was.
10 years ago I held my 'know how' close to my chest, worried that a competitor would grab hold of it, or that a client would extract it without paying for its full value. When I look now at the Carolyn of then, and the way her mind operated, I wonder how I managed to be so successful. Yet then it all seemed normal. Now, I have a very different attitude, and this has been shaped in part by the culture that is emerging from Web 1.0 and 2.0. When I wrote my book, my intent was to share everything I knew about changing culture, so it would spread much faster through the business community. Many consultants and HR people now use those walking the talk methodologies, and simultaneously the business opportunities for me have multiplied.
I've developed new material for clients on what it means to instill the value of generosity into a culture. As I work with them I can feel the anxiety, the sense that if they give too much, they will be taken advantage of. I recommend exploring how generosity applies to your organization. In a recent seminar these questions led to a very valuable and creative discussion.
- How can you be more generous with your customers, and not go out of business?
- How can you be more generous with you staff, and not go out of business?
This morning I was delighted to see that the Oxford Leadership Academy, led by Brian Bacon, posted a link on generosity on their blog, called "Generation G, that would be 'G' for Generosity, not for Greed".
Brian and I have a long history together, and I consider him to be one of the best faciliators on the planet. He is also sometimes a competitor. 10 years ago I would never have praised a competitor in public. Now I feel differently. I believe that by offering my honest opinion to clients, I earn more trust. If I claim that I am best for everything, I lose credibility (and sadly this is a common trait in consulting firms). When help a client to pick the right advisor for each challenge they face, and am willing to team with those who they select, everyone wins. This is one way I am interpreting generosity in my industry.
Try it for yourself. What does generosity mean for you? What would be the stretch which takes you out of comfort zone?