Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Paying It Forward
Many years ago, I was introduced to a man who ran a very successful and innovative employee benefits agency in Seattle. He was kind enough to invite me out for a visit and to freely share with me virtually everything he was doing. I was deeply appreciative of his generosity, and my way of paying the debt forward has been to be as generous with others as he was with me. Whenever possible, I've tried to go the extra mile to share whatever knowledge, wisdom, and insights I may have gained - without being overly concerned about how, or even if, I was going to be compensated. While I, of course, can't always work for free (especially since I'm now doing consulting in an "official" capacity), I still try to share as liberally as I can. This morning was one of those times.
A good bit of the traveling I've been doing lately has been related to my role as a "resource speaker" for an organization called Vistage. The world's largest CEO peer group organization, Vistage is set up around groups of 12-18 members who meet monthly, in cities throughout the world, to listen to speakers and share business challenges and advice. As an approved resource speaker, I deliver 3-4 hour workshops to many of these groups. Based around the material in my book, I teach CEO's how to develop a high-performance culture in their organizations.
This morning, some of the local Vistage chairs held a marketing event to give prospective new members an opportunity to experience a small "taste" of what a Vistage meeting is like. I was asked, on a pro bono basis, to deliver a 45-50 minute program that would demonstrate the value of Vistage membership. It was my pleasure to say "yes" and I conducted that program this morning. From the comments I heard afterwards, I was able to hit precisely the mark that Vistage was aiming for.
This kind of sharing almost always become a win-win. While members get great take-home value from my talk, inevitably some good things end up occurring for me. I think, in some perhaps unexplainable way, this is the world's way of keeping things in balance. As has been said in so many different ways by so many different people, the more you help others, the more you get in return.