The five-minute favor
Academic Adam Grant tallies the benefits of a little generosity.
The University of Pennsylvania management professor brings some truly fresh thinking, as well as rigorous empirical science, to the often fuzzy world of career advice. Based on his own and others' research, Grant has found that people who are most giving of their time -- who do things like making introductions, sharing their expertise, and mentoring, all with no strings attached -- are more successful.
Why it works. "Givers are recognized for using their skills and talents to promote the interests of the organization," says Grant, who detailed the findings in his book Give and Take. Plus, when you've helped the people around you become more productive, you feel motivated too.
And you needn't go overboard. Focus on what Grant calls five-minute favors. For example, you might tweet about a co-worker's great new project, make a quick professional introduction, or drop a note to his boss.