Givers and Takers

By Thomas Jakobs February 03, 2011

Givers and Takers

By: Thomas Jakobs

We have had a crazy winter! In Arkansas we rarely get snow and temperatures well below freezing, but this year is different. I’ve had five trips canceled since January 1st because of winter weather. The process of rescheduling and canceling has been frustrating, but it also brings out the best in some people.

I had the chance to meet a guy with paraplegia during a small conference in November, 2010. Scott was clearly a very smart guy. The more we talked, the more it became clear that his technical background was something that we could use at InvoTek. Over the past couple of months I have talked with Scott a lot, and while I’m excited by the prospects of his technical capabilities, I’ve come to appreciate something else even more – Scott is a giver.

Givers are special people. Their natural inclination is to look first at what you need and then try to figure out how to help you. Only lastly do they consider their needs. Obviously, takers do the opposite. First them, then – maybe – you.

I am a lucky guy. As I think about the people around me, I can count a lot of givers! I have some employees who are givers, some consultants who are givers, I see spouses of our clients who are master givers, and I have family members who are givers. During normal situations, the difference between givers and takers isn’t so obvious. But when things get tough, you want to be around the givers.

When I couldn’t get my engineering team to Scott’s home town because of the weather, Scott offered to come to our office. When you are in a wheelchair, flying is a hassle. Yet, weather permitting, Scott will be here this afternoon.

As I write this it is snowing again and I am frustrated. I really want Scott to work with my team, but I am worried about him traveling in this snow and ice. Makes me wonder whether I am a giver or a taker. Sometimes this is a complicated question. It is a good thing to think about.

Let me know if you have a story about a giver and we’ll feature it on our website.