“What are the values you put on the forefront of corporate management?” A student asked at a recent lecture for college freshmen. I answered that I try to prosper together with stakeholders based on a belief that “you reap what you sow” and “giving is happier than receiving.” But could we succeed by giving than receiving in a business world dominated by the law of the jungle, where a winner takes it all? Or could we even survive? Such doubts and anxiety slowly settle in. This is also the case in a personal life. Should we take our time and effort for someone who doesn’t seem to be of help for us? Is it worth helping them when we’re already busy taking care of our own job?
In his book titled “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, asserts that sharing to grow the whole pie is a way to achieve greater success given an increasing number of win-win games, not zero-sum games, in today’s business world. His argument is parallel to a thought that businesses can be sustainable when they go beyond maximizing profits and pursue social values, prioritizing stakeholders’ happiness.
To become a giver, not just a taker or matcher, one may need to take a long-term perspective. They should be able to cherish and enjoy the act of sharing itself, even if they cannot get something in return for the selfless act in their lifetime. Whenever it feels like I’m being a fool to myself, I think of the simple fact that what I have was not mine from the beginning and doesn’t stay with me for good. Then, wouldn’t it be better to share these with others? If planted in good soil, seeds would come to full fruition in due time.