#GLS2015 Session 4: Adam Grant

Live blogging from Willow Creek Global Leadershop Summit. Italics are my editorial comments. Everything else is the speaker
Michael Jr. Is warming up the room.  ‘If you’re a Christian and you don’t know any creepy Christians, it’s you.’

A clever routine.   I think stand up comedy in a room of Christians is a unique challenge, because way too many believers first ask themselves if it is ok to laugh at something rather than just enjoy it for what it is.  As a species, Christians are too self conscious for good comedy.  

Adam Grant, ‘I’m the guy who gets hired after 3 or 4 consultants get fired.’

  • I study Organizational paranoia.
  • 3 categories of people: takers, givers, matchers.  Which style are you?  We all have moments of each, but your style is the way you treat most of the people most of the time.
  • Many takers are not narcissists, they are burned givers and matchers.
  • In the 3 fields we studied: engineering, medical students, sales forces, the givers are the least productive people.

Adam Grant could use some coaching on voice modulation.  He sounds constantly loud, has a clip to his words and has a grating sardonic tone.  Bring it down once in a while to give us a breather!

  • Proven data:  cheaters are the most common whistle blowers on other cheaters.  (Cycling and baseball has born this out.) Takers want to remove other takers.
  • Givers are the extreme under and over performers.  He long others can either sink or accelerate your career.  Givers often fail in the short run and succeed in the long run.

I am quelling a growing urge to punch this guy. He likes to sting his audience by leading us down a false path.  His recurring pattern: ask us a leading question and then tell us why we are wrong or why the question doesn’t matter.  He has an adversarial posture to his audience.  Compared to his predesssors on the GLS stage, his material does not seem to matter.

  • Disagreeable giver: bad user interface, great operating system.
  • Agreeable taker: the faker. Just because someone is nice to you does not mean they care about you.
  • Takers see selfishness in others.  That is how they justify their own behavior.  So to identify a taker, ask them about the behavior of others.
  • If you are a giver, 5 minute favors are a good boundary, rather than too much self sacrifice.  More than 100 hours per year of giving leads to burnout.
  • 75-90% of all giving is started by a request for help.  If no one asks, you hav lot of frustrated givers in your organization.  One of the best things you can do in your organization is ask for help.
  • Reciprocity ring: ask 8-10 people in a room to make a request and fulfill each other’s request.

Grant had some good moments, but I struggled to stay engaged with him.  I don’t think it was the shish kabob for lunch, I think it was his delivery style.  A good reminder for me that content can be weakened by delivery.  

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