Adam Grant
Professor of Management, Wharton School of Business

Share Your Time Like a Micro-Loan

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Networking has come to take on negative connotations. Adam Rifkin was listed as Fortune’s best networker, with more connections on LinkedIn to the most powerful people in the world than anyone else. Turns out, Rifkin is a giver, “a sun with many different solar systems.”

Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton and a leading expert on success, work motivation, and helping and giving behaviors. He has been recognized as Wharton’s single-highest-rated teacher, one of the world’s 40 best business professors under 40, and one of BusinessWeek’s favorite professors. Previously, he was a record-setting advertising director at Let’s Go Publications, an All-American springboard diver, and a professional magician.

Adam earned his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, completing it in less than three years, and his B.A. from Harvard University, magna cum laude with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class that he has taught. He has presented for leaders at organizations such as Google, the NFL, Merck, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, IBM, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. He has appeared on CNN and CBC, and designed several experiential learning activities based on The Apprentice in which students have raised over $175,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation while developing leadership, influence, networking and collaboration skills.

Adam’s research has been featured in bestselling books, including Quiet by Susan Cain, Drive and To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink, and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, as well as hundreds of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine,USA Today, The Financial Times, Oprah Magazine, and the Freakonomics blog. Adam has more than 60 publications in leading management and psychology journals, and his pioneering studies have increased performance and reduced burnout among engineers and sales professionals, enhanced call center productivity, and motivated safety behaviors among doctors, nurses and lifeguards. In 2011, he won the triple crown of prestigious scholarly achievement awards from the American Psychological Association, the Academy of Management, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.


Adam Grant: When I think about a giver I think about somebody who actually enjoys helping others and often prefers to be on the contributing side of a relationship as opposed to the receiving side and will typically, you know, make introductions, share knowledge, perhaps provide mentoring with no strings attached.

How does a giver sort of succeed but also lift other people up? One of my favorite strategies is one of the stars Give and Take calls a 5-minute Favor, which is the idea that not every act of giving has to be extraordinarily time consuming or costly, but rather, there are ways that you can take small bites of time, almost like a micro loan, and actually share your expertise or your connections with other people. And so one of the recommendations for people who want to achieve success while also helping others is to figure out, what are the ways that you can help others at a small cost to you?

Social networking like Adam Rifkin who’s one of America’s top networkers…. One of the things that Adam does is he really practices this idea of a 5-minute Favor. So every day he’s looking for ways that he can just spend a few minutes of his time to make an introduction between two people who would benefit from knowing each other, to hear an entrepreneur give a five minute pitch and then say, here are the three things that I would do differently if I were you and here’s what I liked about your pitch. And I think that looking for these opportunities can be really powerful, but Adam doesn’t stop there. He then says, “Okay, after I help someone I’m going to go and ask them for help.” But he’s not asking for himself most of the time. He’s asking them to help other people in his network. I think that Adam is on a mission, actually, to create a pay it forward norm where then he builds a whole network of people who are willing to help each other out, regardless of whether they’ve received from each other in the past.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

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