Guy Kawasaki’s Intrinsic Giving


Guy Kawasaki.

I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki’s book “Enchantment, The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.”  I my first encounter with Kawasaki was when I read “Ten Ways to use LinkedIn” on his blog How to Change the World.  He is an author, venture capitalist in Silicon Valley and former chief evangelist at Apple Computers.

This isn’t a review of the book, although it is a very good book and one I would recommend, rather a brief discussion about his thoughts on giving.  Guy talks about about building trust through giving.  In his discussion of giving he links the concept of reciprocity.  There are three forms reciprocity associated with the giving.  In the first form there is an expectation of receiving something in return.  In the second form it’s a case of “paying it forward.”  There is hope of receiving something in return but it is not explicit.  With the third form the giving is  for intrinsic reason with no expectation of receiving something in return.  Kawasaki says this is the purest form of reciprocity and this form “increases your trustworthiness the most and causes the most enchantment.”

In my experience with intrinsic giving, sometimes the recipient is uncomfortable, thinking that they are then expected to reciprocate.  I tell them they don’t need to do anything for me, if they wish to they can give to someone else.  This takes the tension and from the exchange and allows the recipient to receive and enjoy the gift.

I discover the effectiveness of this technique a number of years ago.  My wife and I were vacationing and spending a day at the Grand Canyon.  We met two women and started a conversation.  We learned they too were from from Canada.  They gave us tips of viewing spots.  This was challenging with low clouds blocking our view for large parts of the day.  At lunch time we got a table in a pub in the village.  As we enjoyed our lunch the two women entered in search of a table.  No tables were available so we invited them to join us.  We picked up the conversation and enjoyed our time together.  When the bills came my wife and I paid for the four of us.  Noticing their discomfort I used the technique which put us all at ease.  Some time later they contacted us and shared with us what they had done for someone else.  We were able to share in another gifting exchange.

I learned from my wife that giving can be beneficial for the giver.  Numerous studies have shown that giving benefits you emotionally and it’s good for your health.  A 2006 study by the American National Institute of Health showed that when you give to charities causes your brain to release endorphins producing a positive feeling called a “helper’s high.”  In the book “Why Good Things Happen to Good People” by Stephen Post a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University giving shows health benefits in people with chronic illness.  Perhaps we should all practice a little intrinsic giving.

Disney Does it Well

Disney street cleaners, customer service specialists.

Most people that go to a Disney theme park have a good, sometimes great story to tell.  In reading the book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” by Guy Kawasaki, I read a personal story in which the individual tells of a situation in which a Disney employee “enchanted him for life.”  This prompted me to tell my little story from our very first trip to Disneyland.  First, a little background.  Our daughter had been wearing braces.  The Orthodontist said she could have them off in time for the trip but had to promise to wear her retainer for two hours every day.

The big wow came about from a moment of panic.  It was late in the day.  As many families did, we grabbed a spot on the curb, to have a good spot for the “Main Street Electrical Parade.”  We had dinner, which was probably hot dogs and drinks.  Our daughter was dropping her retainer into the ice at the bottom of her mostly empty drink cup, getting it cold and putting it into her mouth.  Street cleaners go up and down the street while the pre-parade show is happening.  During they day they have brooms and small covered dust pans.  Prior to the parade they have a garbage can on wheels.  Near the beginning of the parade we gathered up all of our garbage and deposited it in one of these trash containers and off it went.

Of course you know where this is going.  When we realize what has happened, the street cleaner is out of sight.  My daughter and I race down the street to catch him.  We meet a street cleaner but he’s not the right one.  He says there is another just down the street and goes with us to catch him.  Hurrah, it’s the one that took our trash.

I’m ready to start digging through the trash barrel right there on the street.  The two fellows calmly say no we’ll go “back stage.”  They take us into a staff only area and they go through the garbage and find the drink cup.

I have since learned that the strteet cleaners in Disney’s theme parks are asked more questions than any other cast member.  For this reason they get a great deal of training on dealing with guests.  One told me that he has met people from all over the world that he has helped, and he sometimes gets to visit them when he travels.  Disney is a company that is a benchmark in terms of customer service.  People work for Disney just to learn everything they can about how it’s done.  You can of now go to the Disney Institute or just read their book “Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service.”