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Mike Jay Interviews John Agno

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John Agno: certified executive & business coach

Why practice the "Law of Reciprocity" in your business relationships? 
As a potent of the weapon of influence, the Law of Reciprocity is not being used effectively in the leadership of business and government throughout the world.
Mike's "generati" concept is in attunement with the law of reciprocity and both flow from the law of love that forms the basis of the religions of the world (www.LawofLove.com).  And Mike might consider discussing how his 'generati' concept has worked for him in his business and personal lives during the interview...
What is the law of reciprocity?
Reciprocation flows from Divine Law that can neither be ignored or put aside.
Political and marketplace pressures will frequently bump up against spiritual values.
Perhaps, the most important of these laws is the 'law of love.'  The 'law of love' is identified in many ways and cultures, such as:  It's the golden rule of Christianity, "Do unto others as you want them to do unto you." The silver rule of Confucianism, "Don't do to others as you don't want them to do to you."
Put simply, "Love is Law, Law is Love. God is Love, Love is God." This amounts to the same thing as "the gift of giving" without the "hope of reward or pay," or serving others.  This 'law of love' is identified in many different ways--for example, in Wayne Baker's book, "Achieving Success Through Social Capital" (Jossey-Bass), this law of love in the workplace is described as the "law of reciprocity."

The law of reciprocity is not what can best be described as "transactional reciprocity."  Baker says that, "Many people conceive of their business dealings as spot market exchanges--value given for value received, period. Nothing more, nothing less.  This tit-for-tat mode of operation can produce success, but it doesn't invoke the power of reciprocity and so fails to yield extraordinary success."

How do I put the law of reciprocity to work in my business?

Baker explains, "The lesson is that we cannot pursue the power of reciprocity.  When we try to invoke reciprocity directly, we lose sight of the reason for it: helping others. Paradoxically, it is in helping others without expecting reciprocity in return that we invoke the power of reciprocity.  The path to reciprocity is indirect: reciprocity ensues from the social capital built by making contributions to others.

The deliberate pursuit of reciprocity fails, just like the pursuit of happiness.  Acts of contribution, big and small, build your fund of social capital, creating a vast network of reciprocity. And so those who help you may not be those you help.  The help you receive may come from distant corners of your network."

Viktor E. Frankl in his book, "The Will to Meaning," said, "To the extent to which one makes happiness the objective of his motivation, he necessarily makes it the object of his attention. But precisely by so doing he loses sight of the reason for happiness, and happiness itself must fade away." 

Can you provide an example of how to use the law of reciprocity in business?  

My Coach to Coach Network of 1,300 personal and business coaches worldwide is an example of using the Internet to invoke the law of reciprocity.   Weekly, I send out a free email newsletter to subscribers packed full of information of value to the coaching community.  Since every newsletter issue conveys my thoughts and feelings about the subjects presented, the subscribers get to know me---how I think, my strengths and weaknesses, how I help clients.  When they see an opportunity that may interest other subscribers or me personally, they tell me about it or forward the newsletter to a client or someone else who and be interested and that person may contact me.  And many times, I am the first to know about the opportunity because of these "weak ties" with subscribers.  The Network is the coaching industry and I am at the hub of the Network. 

I created the Coach to Coach Network just to connect independent coaching professionals for the purpose of sharing ideas and news about the industry but unintentionally and unexpectedly I personally and professionally benefit through the power of the law of reciprocity. 
Why are "weak ties" important?
When it comes to finding out about new jobs--or, for that matter, new information, or new ideas--"weak ties" are always more important than strong ties.  Your friends, after all, occupy the same world that you do.  Your acquaintances, on the other hand, by definition occupy a very different world than you.  They are much more likely to know something that you don't.
Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller, "The Tipping Point," tells us about Sociologist Mark Granovetter's classic 1974 study "Getting a Job" that looked at several hundred professional and technical workers from Boston suburb of Newton---interviewing them in some detail on their employment history.  He found 56 percent of those he talked to found their job through a personal connection.  People weren't getting their jobs through their friends.  They were getting them through their acquaintances.
The bottom line is acquaintances, in short, represent a source of social capital, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are.
If there was one thing you could do for your customers and your business, what would it be?
The short answer is give more of what you have away.
Ask a Las Vegas cab driver, "What's the best show in town?"  He will quickly reply with something like this, "Oh, Jay Leno!  My wife and I just went to see him.  He gives a special show for taxi drivers at two in the morning.  Otherwise, we could never afford to go.  Kenny Rogers does the same thing when he's in town."
You wouldn't think that anyone as big in the entertainment field as Jay Leno and Kenny Rogers needs to give away their performances, but they do.  Both realize that some of the best word of mouth advertising they could have would be taxi drivers raving about their shows.
So what could you give away that will be appreciated by people and want them to repay your kindness in some way in the future?

John G. Agno, certified executive & business coach
Signature, Inc., PO Box 2086, Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Telephone: 734.426.2000 (US Eastern Time Zone)
Truth flows from universal law, not from personal views.


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