In Culture

When I started a company called Humax Corporation in 1999, my goal was to help individuals and organizations build the right network, and then use it to make life better, richer, and more rewarding.

Wayne Baker and I co-created the Reciprocity Ring, a fun and dynamic group exercise that applies the “pay-it-forward” principle to a team or group while creating and cementing high-quality personal and professional connections. By the way, Adam Grant, then a PhD student at the University of Michigan, was one of our first and best Reciprocity Ring facilitators!

Fast forward to 2017, and we’re thrilled to announce that Wayne and I are partnering with Adam and Larry Freed to create a new company called Give and Take, Inc., inspired by my work, Wayne’s research at the University of Michigan, and the excellent and thought-provoking ideas in Adam’s bestseller, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.

Together we’re building a technology platform that enterprises can use to apply the principles of generalized reciprocity, pro-social practices, and social capital within their organizations on a large scale so that more individuals and more companies can reap the benefits.

For me, this is all about the connections people make. I’ve facilitated enough group exercises to see how people light up when they see how much knowledge, information, and generosity is available to them in the networks they already have, and how much more is at their fingertips when they expand their networks. Reciprocity Ring exercises are usually the highest-rated activity at the Executive Education and MBA programs we are part of; people have told me their professional lives are transformed.

Give and Take’s knowledge collaboration platform is called Givitas, and we’re already working with a number of companies, nonprofits, and universities. We’re seeing people ask for and get offers of help on all kinds of things that help them do their jobs better, but also on things that just make life a little easier or more exciting. Some real-life examples of things people have requested help on:

  • “I would love to connect to a resource who has experience introducing/implementing peer coaching for EMBA study teams.” Replies included specific names of resources within the network as well as offers for introductions to experts at NYU and VCU who had this expertise but were outside the network.
  • “I’d like to write a thank you note to Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and want to make sure they actually receive it.” Amazingly, one of the women in her network responded with this: “I know the Road Manager who tours with Paul McCartney and was willing to give the note to him and ask him to deliver it.”

We have literally hundreds of examples like this, and the Givitas networks are creating more every day. The benefits to Givitas participants are very clear:

  • Boost your knowledge easily and efficiently: Givitas is the easiest, most convenient way to get the information you need to do your job, whether that’s an answer, advice, or a different perspective or a connection to someone outside your network that has the knowledge or resources you need.
  • Enjoy your work: Research shows that developing and building personal and work networks leads to happiness, growth, satisfaction, and even better mental and physical health.
  • Contribute to a giving culture: Givitas allows you to be a proactive part of building a positive culture of engagement, trust, reciprocity, cooperation, and information sharing at work.
  • Advance your career: According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, corporate “givers” (the people who give freely to benefit others rather than because they expect something in return) are ultimately the highest performers and the most successful.

I’m excited to be working with this team to bring my vision to life on a larger scale, and I can’t wait for what’s next! Stay tuned, and I’d love to hear from you if you have thoughts or feedback at cheryl.baker@giveandtakeinc.com.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing what we’re all about, schedule a demo. 

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