Leaders Pay it Forward

At 90 Ideas, Tej Dhawan started off with a key idea:

Give first.

He was mostly talking about the ethic in the start-up community, how entrepreneurs help each other out as a habit. A great Iowa example is EntreFest, an annual program for entrepreneurs with dozens of sessions led, pro bono, by entrepreneurs who are giving back to the community. I’ve been on the speaker docket myself a few times—will we see you in May?

But giving first isn’t just for the startup community.

My wife’s a web developer, a business that’s competitive, yet cooperative. There are WordCamps where, like EntreFest, WordPress developers meet to swap best practices. And, they give each other referrals.

In my world, I have competition. My biggest competitors are spelled out in my business plan. And yet, I’ve given referrals to them and received referrals from them.

Before I took this business full time, I “picked the brain” of others in Training and Development. Everyone I asked for advice and insight said “yes” and the most I did for them was buy them a cup of coffee and send them a hand-written thank-you note. Their generosity has not been forgotten. It’s legend in Des Moines that top business leader Suku Radia will meet anyone for coffee once. Anyone, no matter their station or motive. If he can do that, we all can.

Whatever your industry or role, find ways to give first.

This post is part of a set of posts inspired by the Business Record’s “90 Ideas in 90 Minutes” event in September 2017. Learn more, download a pdf, and see all the speakers here.

Post 1: Leaders Develop Everyone
Post 2: Leaders Encourage Thinking “A Step Above”
Post 3: Leaders Ask “Does it Need to be Said?”
Post 4: Leaders Use Time Wisely: Rethink the Block
Post 5: Leaders Champion Inclusion and Diversity
Post 6: Leaders Stay Hydrated
Post 7: Leaders Make Changes Stick
Post 8: Leaders Engineer an Experience
Post 9: Leaders Measure More than the Average

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