“. . . in humility consider others better than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3
Having worked over thirty years in sales organizations I observed there are two types of salespeople. There is the salesperson who works for himself, and the one who works for the customer. More bluntly, there is the one who works for commissions, and the one who works for the good of the clients. Both, of course, clearly understand their compensation is tied directly to the transaction. The distinction is that the former is motivated by the compensation he will receive, while the latter is motivated by doing what is best for the customer.
In his book, Give and Take, Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant sets out to explore how a person’s intentions impacts his or her long-term success. In his research he categorizes people this way: “Givers”, those who are genuinely generous in their behavior; “Takers”, those who tend to be in it for themselves; but he also includes those who he labels as “Matchers”, who often behave like “givers” but with an expectation of reciprocity or quid pro quo. What he concludes is that “takers” often jump ahead of the pack early on, while “matchers” simply know how to play the game. But in the long run it is the “givers” who are most likely to rise to the top and grow to become real leaders.
This principle, of course, is not limited just to the sales profession, as all careers and professions are impacted by it, in fact it is true about all endeavors. Once I was taking a public speaking course when the obvious question arose from our class about how to overcome stage fright when speaking before an audience. The instructor’s answer was surprisingly simple. We become frightened, he explained, because we are focused on ourselves, how we appear and what the audience is thinking about us. Focus instead, he instructed, on the audience and the message you are offering. The distinction is that the stage-frightened speaker is a “taker”, motivated by how he or she is perceived by the audience. The confident speaker, though, is a “giver”, motivated by what he or she is doing for the audience.
The Apostle Paul could not have summed it up more succinctly, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”