Givers take all: The hidden dimension of corporate culture | McKinsey & Company | Change Leadership Watch |
By encouraging employees to both seek and provide help, rewarding givers, and screening out takers, companies can reap significant and lasting benefits. A McKinsey Quarterly article.

After the tragic events of 9/11, a team of Harvard psychologists quietly “invaded” the US intelligence system. The team, led by Richard Hackman, wanted to determine what makes intelligence units effective. By surveying, interviewing, and observing hundreds of analysts across 64 different intelligence groups, the researchers ranked those units from best to worst.

[They discovered], after parsing the data, that the most important factor wasn’t on their list.

The single strongest predictor of group effectiveness was the amount of help that analysts gave to each other.

Evidence from studies led by Indiana University’s Philip Podsakoff demonstrates that the frequency with which employees help one another predicts

  • sales revenues in pharmaceutical units and retail stores;
  • profits, costs, and customer service in banks;
  • creativity in consulting and engineering firms;
  • productivity in paper mills;
  • and revenues, operating efficiency, customer satisfaction, and performance quality in restaurants.

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