October 1, 2020

Hear the story of why to be a Go-Giver rather than a Go-Getter

By William Buist

Many leaders know they want to connect with a purpose in their work but few in business may identify that as being a go-giver.

That strange new term (to some) is obviously a play on the classic drive executive identify as a go-getter. But, isn’t that what’s going to work in a bottom-line driven business? Haven’t I previously advocated that data & analytics teams need to be more commercial?

In this post, I pleased to welcome back William Buist to share a book review that reveals how being a go-giver is not naive. Rather it taps into laws of human nature, reciprocity & motivation. What’s more, it’s another lesson via the medium of story. Like The Goal shared with us by Hanne Sorteberg, “The Go-Giver” is a story that can help leaders everywhere.

Regular blog readers will know that William is a business mentor & consultant who helps leaders build a better business. He’s shared with us before on the topics of Extraordinary Leadership, being ready for External Changes & the benefits of Listening.

Over to William to explain why “The Go-Giver” is a story that leaders should read…

The Go-Giver: story & business book

Many books tell stories and many business books tell us how to do certain things that are important for a business. Few do both well. This book weaves a story and it’s lessons into a compelling narrative, one that draws in the reader and encourages them to turn the page. 

Its main character, Joe is struggling, he has a quarter-end target to meet and realises that he fears he won’t complete it. He meets someone whom he considers highly successful & seeks to understand the basis of their success. His mentor takes Joe under his wing, on the condition that each lesson is applied immediately.

Joe doesn’t believe that it’s possible. He initially struggles to apply the lessons. But situations arise for Joe; we (the readers) have a chance to reflect on how that might work for us too. 

Digging deeper as a leader

Bob Burg and John David Mann in writing this book have created a description of some of the things that we instinctively know. Do we ever go deep enough with them? The lessons provide context and I liked that. It was easy to understand Joe’s situation.

More importantly, it was just as easy to see elements of what I was doing, or not doing, and learn from that clarity. It’s easy to avoid the real lesson when a book is not well written. However, when you can give an honest answer to the question: “What do I need to do as a result of reading this book?” you know it is an important book, and this one did that for me.

The Go-Giver’s five “laws”

The book, and the story which it uses as a vehicle to communicate, highlights five rules for stratospheric success.

  1. The Law of Value. Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. 
  2. The Law of Compensation. Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The Law of Influence. Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
  4. The Law of Authenticity. The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
  5. The Law of Receptivity. The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

These five seemingly simple “laws” are essential for any business. They are just as crucial for life in general, and how we all live it.

I liked the characterisations and the stories of how Joe was trying to look ahead. Using this style reinforced the author’s message. We, as readers, are encouraged to think about what might be about to happen. In particular, the final law brings the other four together. Without being open to opportunity, none of the others can create a change that would be sustainable.

Applying those 5 laws

In the book, the Authors say “Go looking for conflict, and you’ll find it. Go looking for people to take advantage of you, and they generally will. See the world as a dog-eat-dog place, and you’ll always find a bigger dog looking at you as if you’re his next meal. Go looking for the best in people, and you’ll be amazed at how much talent, ingenuity, empathy, and goodwill you’ll find. Ultimately, the world treats you more or less the way you expect to be treated.” I think that is an accurate summary of what the book has to say. Each of us, of course, can change our expectations, and that is the power of the book.

At 127 pages, this is not a long book. You could read it in an evening if you wish. I would recommend following Joe’s journey and reading one of the ‘Laws’ on each weekday. As Joe did, use the principles you learn, in turn to your business and your life, and see what happens. It has reminded me that the world is abundant. For all of us, there is an opportunity, but we need to be willing to accept them. The book will make you think and is packed with good advice.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone running a business. What is more, I think it speaks volumes that I received such a warm response from the author when I posted this review:

(response to book review from the author)

How could becoming a Go-Giver help your leadership?

Many thanks to William for that encouraging book review. I am sorry to have missed the book club discussion on what sounds a great read. To reciprocate William’s generosity, let me just recommend his Business Book Club. He has a great eye to choosing books that will help leaders develop and facilitates brilliant conversations. You can check it out here:


Beyond books, how about living those 5 laws or the principle of being a giving focussed leader? Do you have any experience to share on how that has (or hasn’t) worked for you? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

This post is intended to be the start of a series of related posts (on the topic of vision & purpose). My hope is that it helps re-energise and focus your data, analytics or insight team. We all need some of that these days.