Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate. If you throw a pebble into the water on one side of the ocean, it can create a tidal wave on the other side. – Victor Webster
No matter who you are, what you do, your title or area of responsibility it is up to you to make every connection count. You matter. Other people matter. It is only through the interaction and connections that you make does one ripple begin that can lead to many others down the line. The way you act, the values you share, your opinions and the way you communicate send messages about you to those around you. And like a pebble being thrown in to a pond, the initial ripple of connection has a far reaching impact as those ripples spread far and wide.
Whether it be a much loved, or even much disliked, CEO’s departure and the immediate waterfall effect that cascades rapidly inside and outside the organisation, the impact of a national vote or the super sonic speed with which an unknown audition on reality TV hits YouTube mega millions of views within what seems like nano-seconds – the impact of one action always has ramifications one to one, more to more and many to many.
Some may refer to it as ‘what goes around comes around’. Social psychologists call it the Law of Reciprocity, a social convention where we feel the need to repay in kind that which another has provided. Some call it a ‘value exchange’.
In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant shares that the people most likely to rise to the top are often the ‘Givers’, who give the most to others. The ‘Takers’, who try to get as much as possible from others, and the ‘Matchers’, who try to give and take in equal amounts, never experience the same success. But there is something magical that happens when ‘Givers’ succeed . According to Grant, “Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.”
At the heart of successful collaboration and connection lies the concept of value exchange – a simple process that gives both parties the chance to bring something more to the transaction than just a product. By its very nature, the mutual benefit of a value exchange comes down to the individuals involved, their willingness to share insight, connections, knowledge and ideas. Because it is here that market opportunities become immeasurable, sales potential is unlocked and the value of the intelligence shared increases exponentially.
It is not about faking it till you make it or hiding things for fear of being copied. It is not about protection of self or even survival of the fittest.
The key to sharing what matters to others is trust, having faith in your expertise values and dreams. It is about facing outwards with an interest and willingness to connect with others, exchange value and support other’s growth. And through the creation of one ripple, many others will naturally form.
Make every connection count. Be a leader every day in every way, like it always matters. Because at the end of the day, it does matter – your impact can last forever.
As Grant says, “every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?”