Posts Tagged ‘Behavior’

The Go-GiverOne of the entities I follow on Twitter is @TalentCulture, a source of helpful information across topics such as leadership, talent management, human resources, the social workplace, and HR technology. Between their tweets, tweet chats, radio show, and other web resources, you can find a lot of quality information and interaction with others who share such interests. It is one specific train of thought in a series of recent tweets from @TalentCulture that sparks this blog post.

How many times have you heard of someone positively described as a go-getter? The term is generally used to praise someone who takes initiative, who gets things done, who does more than what is expected, who doesn’t let obstacles stand in the way of achieving some goal, etc. That is why I was a bit surprised earlier this week to see a series of tweets distinguishing a “go-getter” from a “go-giver” with the more positive slant going in favor of the go-giver.

What is the difference between the two? The tweets from the past few days will help distinguish between them.

Some of the characteristics of go-getters according to @TalentCulture tweets on September 1-2 include:

  • people of action;
  • egocentric;
  • get things done;
  • more competitive and inward looking;
  • tend to usurp;
  • most have only one speed and agenda – themselves;
  • goal driven and will not deviate from that;
  • need to know what’s in it for them;
  • the players with the puck/ball and their sight on the goal.

Conversely, go-givers were described in these ways:

  • focus on bringing value to others;
  • seek personal success while benefiting colleagues;
  • tend to be servant leaders;
  • elevate the achievement of others;
  • community-centric;
  • think of the team before themselves;
  • focus on empowering others.

There is a definite difference between the two according to the people who shared the above descriptions.

A few other tweets worth noting include:

  • “Without go-givers, there would be nothing for go-getters to take.”
  • “If I help you ‘go-get’ what you need then I have become a ‘go-giver.'”
  • “It’s completely possible to be a go-getter and still be focused on others.” (Does this view mesh very well with the others above? Do you agree with the claim?)

As someone who has positively identified himself as a go-getter for most of life, I admit it is hard for me to wrap my head around this distinction. It is difficult to see being a go-getter in a more negative light when I know, for example, that I demonstrate daily a concern for others and willingness to give in order to help them achieve their goals while also being very goal oriented and driven to accomplish more than others expect from me. Perhaps I’ll have to read the book and chew on this idea a little more to determine where I stand on the matter. At least the potential distinction is now in mind and I can better analyze my motives and behavior.

What do you think? How does this distinction between a go-getter and a go-giver resonate with you? Which one are you, or do you think you’re a mixture of both? How do you see the distinction playing out among members of your team at work, or even in your household or other organizations you may be a part of? Let me know in a comment.

For more info about the idea of being a go-giver, go to and the #tchat recap. You’ll find the book on Amazon if you’re interested.

Fred StobaughMany of you saw in the news or spreading through social media this past week the touching story of 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh and the song lyrics he wrote for a contest in memory of Lorraine, his recently deceased wife of 72 years.  The inspiring story came as a result of a song contest held by Green Shoe Studio where they invited anyone to submit a video of an original song. Fred didn’t do a video, but he put the lyrics in a manila envelope and sent them off to the studio, not expecting to hear back.

The studio was so touched by the story that they decided to have his song professionally produced as a gift for Fred. Fast forward to this week and the video of that story has received millions of views while the song “Oh Sweet Lorraine” was in the top ten downloads for the past week on iTunes. If you haven’t seen the video yet, take nine minutes and watch it here, then continue reading. I promise it is worth your time.

Who could watch that video and not be touched by it? We walk away from it perhaps with a tear in our eye, but surely with a longing in our heart for more such stories. We long to be on the receiving and giving end of such experiences. Just as Fred was taken aback by the gift of the song, so were the people of the studio moved by Fred and their opportunity to show him kindness. We long to have a love story like Fred and Lorraine. We acknowledge the rarity of 70+ year marriages and feel blessed to witness them, encouraged that maybe the same is possible for us.

Why is it that such a story goes viral? When the national news headlines are more frequently stories of war and potential war, stories of violence and wrongdoing, why does a story like Fred’s get millions of views and make the top ten downloads on iTunes? I believe it is because we are tired of news about war and murder and all that is wrong with mankind. We grow weary of filing our minds and ears and eyes with yet more stories daily that discourage and depress.

Rather, we long for feel-good stories that give us at least a brief respite from the evil in the world. We need reasons for hope. We cling to stories like Fred’s because there are holes in our heart and our experiences in life that shout for something more meaningful, more purposeful, more worthwhile and eternal. We long to fill our minds with that which is healthy. We know that we need to realistically understand our world and its troubles; we just don’t want to dwell constantly on all that is wrong around us, nor should we. We need models of what is right and good, and we need to lift those stories high for all to see and hear. We need more than the constant reminders of what harms us.

It was a bit ironic that much of the other music-related news of this past week was around Miley Cyrus and her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Commenting on the contrast between Miley and the touching story of Fred Stobaugh, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had this to say:

“Miley Cyrus took a lot of flak this week for her raunchy performance at the MTV Video Awards. But she was hardly alone. Most of the performers stripped down, cursed and gyrated in crude ways. They think that’s what it takes to sell a song. But they’re wrong… This week, among all the sex-drenched tunes by Lady Gaga and Robin Thicke, you’ll find “[Oh] Sweet Lorraine,” 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh’s song of undying love for his late wife, perched at #9 on iTunes’ top 10 chart. I hope it makes it to number one, as a reminder that all a song really needs to be popular is for it to touch our hearts.”

Nearly a year ago, a similar feel-good story and video made the rounds of singer Katy Perry performing a duet with Jodi DiPiazza, a young girl with autism.  That YouTube video now has over 7 million views. You can watch it below:

Our hunger for such stories won’t end, because the longing in our heart to be fully human demands them. I wonder what the collective attitude and mindset of society would be if we spent more time highlighting what is good and right with the world rather than dwelling on all that is wrong?

By the way, if you’d like to send a note of encouragement and thanks to Fred Stobaugh, here is his address:

Fred Stobaugh
P.O. Box 4063
Bartonville, IL 61607

My challenge to you this week is to share some positive, uplifting stories with others. What positive stories can you share?

GlassesI want to say “thank you” to some mystery person at the Kentucky State Fair today for doing the simple, right thing.  I have no idea who it was or anything about this person other than that it was a female.

Here is what happened…

I enjoyed a morning at the fair in Louisville with my parents who drove up today from Winchester, KY.  After we walked through the many exhibits, it was time to eat some of that famous fair food.  Dad and I each had donut burgers (burgers that use Krispy Kreme donuts for the bun) and Mom had a chicken pita.  I followed the donut burger with a jalapeno corn dog just because I can.  (Hey, it’s the fair.  Don’t judge.)  We sat on a bench to eat and I, of course, had to take a picture of Mom and Dad with their food.  Dad removed his eyeglasses and sat them on the bench while I took the photo.

Fast forward about 30 minutes and Dad realized when we were nearly home that he had left his glasses on that bench.  He didn’t want to go back and see if they were still there, so we went on to my house from where Mom and Dad then headed back to Winchester.  Of course, there was no way I was going to stay home and not try to get Dad’s glasses, so I returned to the fair.

I went first to the bench where we ate, but the glasses weren’t there.  An information booth was nearby, so I asked the lady there about them in hopes that some kind soul took a few steps out of his or her way and turned them in.  Fortunately, the lady had been given the glasses by some other woman, and then the information booth lady turned them in to the security office nearby.  She pointed me in the direction of that office and a couple of minutes later I had the glasses in hand.  (Then I got a cherry funnel cake, but that’s another story.  I said, don’t judge.)  I tried to offer the kind lady at the information booth a reward, but she wouldn’t take it.

So I was soon on my way home again, thankful that some mystery lady had taken a little effort to do something kind for someone she didn’t know in hopes that a pair of eyeglasses and their owner would somehow reunite.

I wonder what went through that lady’s mind when she saw the glasses on the bench?  I suppose a few options quickly presented themselves:

  • Leave them there in hopes that the person who lost them would come back and find them.
  • Take them for herself.
  • Throw them away (I know that’s a strange thought, but a trash can was within reach of the bench and some people are just plain mean.)
  • Turn them in to someone official.

Fortunately, she did the simple, right thing and turned them in.

Doing the right thing isn’t always simple, of course.  She could have been in some far off corner of the fair nowhere close to an information booth, making the decision much harder.  The glasses could have been found in an animal stall half covered in manure, making the decision to handle them much tougher.  She could have needed a pair of glasses herself and discovered that the prescription was perfect for what she needed, choosing to keep them while thinking “Finders keepers, losers weepers.”  If doing the right thing is simple, though – a few extra steps, some simple action, a little time, a phone call or a few words spoken – then the cost to the individual is minimal and the reward can be great.

Of course, we ought to do the right thing, whether it’s simple or not.  I believe most of us know right from wrong.  We have God-given consciences according to Romans 2.  Those consciences kick in regardless of education, religion, or other factors unless, of course, we have violated that still, small voice so many times that we no longer even hear it, much less let it guide us.  In a world where people can kill others for the fun of it as we heard this week regarding some conscience-seared teens in Oklahoma, it’s refreshing to be on the receiving end of someone doing something nice for a stranger.

Thank you, mystery fair goer, who turned in the glasses.  Thank you, information booth lady, who gave them to security.  Thank you, security, who gave them to me.

May each of us be that person for someone else daily by making the conscious choice of doing the simple (or not-so-simple), right thing.

Broken PlateImagine you’ve been hurt by someone.  Now imagine that person says, “I’m sorry.”  What happens?  Does everything jump back to the way it was before you were hurt?  No.  Damage is done, and at best it takes time to forgive and move on.  You may never forget.

I was reminded of this by a simple, yet profound tweet today from Jeff Perera by way of Carrie Young:

“Throw a plate on the ground.
Did it break?
Say sorry to it.
Did it go back to the way it was before?
Do you understand?”

People are fragile.  Handle with care.

You’re Just Barking

Posted: July 31, 2013 in Behavior
Tags: , ,
image from

image from

The other morning when I was getting ready for work, my normally quiet dog, Callie, started barking while in our second floor bedroom.  After a few barks, I heard my wife say to her, “You don’t know what you’re doing.  You’re just barking.”  Apart from the fact that Callie had no possibility of understanding such a sentence from Linda, I still found the observation amusing.  When I asked Linda what Callie was barking at, Linda said that the neighbor dog started barking and Callie just automatically chimed in as well, even though Callie had no idea from our second floor why Sparkles next door was yapping away.

I couldn’t help but wonder how much noise in our lives comes from people just barking about things because they hear others doing so.  I think we’d be a little better off if we didn’t join the pack of yelpers out there and only spoke up when there is a positive contribution to be made that is worthy of being heard.

Wonder what would happen if some of us started saying to the human barkers out there, “You don’t know what you’re doing.  You’re just barking”?  It might be interesting to find out.