By Ed McLaughlin with Wyn Lydecker

Did you know that giving back is good for you? In his best-selling book “Give and Take,” Wharton management professor Adam Grant uses empirical evidence to demonstrate that generous people – ones who pay it forward or give back – tend to do better in life and in business. That premise provides grounds for some reflection in this holiday season. The focus on buying and giving material things seems all too often to overwhelm the message that we need to give from the heart or the spirit, too.

In an article that appeared in March 2013 in the New York Times Magazine (“Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?”), Grant is portrayed as someone who does not view helping as “the enemy of productivity.” His book explores the idea fully, taking the reader through countless examples and studies that show how helping and giving can become the sources of success. In an online Forbes article, Peter Cohan uses Grant’s book as an example of how the generosity of spirit that pervades Silicon Valley helps create an environment that is conducive to the creation of new companies.

When I think back to my startup days, I realize that the people who were generous with their time and advice helped me succeed. As I was building my business, I was keenly aware of the need to be thankful and to act accordingly. As company, USI, became more and more successful, our partner group supported employee volunteerism and coordinated participation in charitable events.

As Warren Buffet has said, it’s not right to keep all your wealth only to give it away upon your death. When we sold USI Companies Inc., I used a portion of the windfall to make a major gift to breast cancer research and to help fund a new science center at my alma mater, the College of the Holy Cross. I believe all successful business owners should consider doing likewise. Give out of gratitude for your success. It will only lead to more success for your community, worthy causes, and for yourself.    

Copyright © 2013 by Ed McLaughlin   All rights reserved.