How to Give Your Way to the Top

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”—St. Paul, Acts 20:35

The Kingdom networker places a high value on serving others, constantly expanding his or her web of relationships so the blessings of God’s Rule can flow to more and more people.  As Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus, giving brings more blessing than taking and powerfully reflects the values of Jesus.

I recently read a outstanding business article, “Good Returns,” by organizational psychologist Adam Grant.  ( Grant’s extensive research, conducted over a period of ten years across a wide variety of work fields, suggests three categories of people in profesional and work life—givers, takers, and matchers.  The givers like to give more than they take.  Takers take more than they give.  Matchers try to come out even.

The data Grant collected on givers, relatively rare in work life, show that being a giver makes a dramatic difference in work outcomes.  According to Grant, “givers sink to the bottom of the success ladder.  Across a wide range of important occupations, givers are at a disadvantage:  they make others better off but sacrifice their own success in the process.”  Givers yield the lowest performance levels at work

Should you care more about helping others in your work than you care about helping yourself?  Do nice guys and gals finish last in professional life?

It turns out that the research also indicates that not all givers show up at the bottom.  Some givers have the highest scores in success and productivity in both quantity and quality of their work results.  This fact held true across a broad range of occupations, and  among sales professionals “the top performers were givers, and they averaged 50 percent more annual revenue than the takers and matchers.”

Being a giver rather than a taker doesn’t tell the whole story.  I look forward to reading more of Grant’s work to explore this phenomenon further.  But it would seem that “giving up” does not equal “giving.”  People who want to get what’s coming to them and ensure that no one takes advantage of them will usually find themselves doomed to the middle ranks.  Those who seek to contribute dramatically to the lives of the people around them, their co-workers, customers, employers, and strangers, will come out on top.  Empirical research vindicates the values Jesus taught for Kingdom networkers.


Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at