Adam Grant would say, that’s more than enough.

I was introduced to Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, last summer by our National Sales Manager, and I read it quite quickly on my back deck one summer weekend. Grant’s a renowned professor at Wharton and his book challenges the concern many business people have that if they’re known as a giver, they won’t succeed.

Grant introduces us early on, to giver, Adam Rifkin, who began focusing on the 5 minute favour in the late 90’s in the Silicon Valley. Rifkin’s definition of this concept is, “ ‘you should be willing to do something that will take you five minutes or less for anybody.’ Instead of trading value, Rifkin aims to add value.” p. 55

“ ‘When you meet people,’ says former Apple evangelist and Silicon Valley legend Guy Kawasaki, regardless of who they are, ‘you should be asking yourself, how can I help this other person’”. p 45

I love this concept. Too often we feel we need to make a grandiose gesture or a large monetary donation to make a difference, to be a “good giver”; however sometimes it’s those little things that can have the greatest impact, or start a mutually beneficial relationship. And we can all spare 5 minutes in our day, I know we can. It just needs to become habit, an intentional focus. Randon-Acts-of-Kidness

One of Rifkins’s maxims is, “I believe in the strength of weak ties, people we know casually…strong ties provide bonds, but weak ties serve as bridges; they provide more efficient access to new information. Our strong ties tend to travel in the same social circles and know about the same opportunities we do.” p 47

Grant reminds us that giving inspires reciprocity, and by doing a 5 minute favour for someone who is a weak tie, merely an acquaintance, it often leads to a future favour back to us, and that's good business.

So, what are some examples of the 5 minute favour? How about any of these:

  • Retweeting someone’s blog to your sphere of influence on twitter

  • Introducing 2 people who might benefit from knowing each other

  • Giving someone a recommendation on linkedin

  • Providing an Amazon review for a new author

  • Calling someone, to thank them for their contribution towards a project you worked on together.

  • Pay someone's parking

  • Fill out a comment card in a hotel or restaurant, acknowledging the great service you had by name.