Generosity must be an integral part of every business. So many people in the western world have never felt the joy of giving freely, and as a result, they find themselves stuck in unhappiness.
An extremely generous person once gave me money and told me to buy Christmas turkeys for some of the less fortunate families in London. It was such a privilege to see the joy it brought to people that it brought tears to my eyes.
Generosity is something that I try to bring into my business as much as I can. At Cotswold Fayre, we try to ensure that in addition to business goals, all of our business has a ‘people’ and ‘planet’ element, and that every employee’s KPOs should include at least 40% social and environmental goals. .
This year we have introduced a “compulsory” volunteering program: each employee has a KPI of 12 hours of volunteering, paid by the company, and he can do it a few hours per month or all at once.
Some of our employees will be working more or less than these hours, depending on their roles, but the initiative aims to ensure that volunteering and giving are an integral part of our business.
For a leader, generosity is about giving generously in vacations, bonuses and wages. When you give generously, you will always get back, and this is especially true at work.
Most human beings will give generosity if it is shown to them – it is contagious, like kindness. If people take advantage of your generosity, it does not mean that the principle is wrong, just that the circle of generosity is temporarily broken.
In Western culture today, we generally don’t believe that when you give generously, you receive it abundantly. We often find it difficult to give freely, without any conditions.
Most of the time, generosity is seen as transactional, but generosity shouldn’t be about internally calculating how you might get your money or time back, or whether the other person deserves it.
The Hindu tradition speaks of abundance – a state of life that does not think about how giving might leave us short. In the Hindu tradition, people who spend their time caring about their own conservation and never being generous will never know the rewards of freely giving.
We all have experience with very wealthy people who are too worried about losing what they have. If people are stuck in this worry, they might need some extra help to enable them to feel the real happiness that comes from being generous.
Many people prefer to leave their legacy in the lives of others through their generosity, rather than money left after their death. A funeral I attended recently was for someone very generous – one of the suppliers to our company.
The event was amazing, and you could see the impact it had had on others. Everyone had a chance to talk about his generosity, and if more leaders lived their lives like him, the world would be a very different place.
Paul hargreaves is a B-Corp Ambassador, speaker and author of The Fourth Outcome: Thrive in the New Era of Compassionate Leadership out now, priced at £ 14.99