What To Give To Who And Why

‘Tis the season…so we are told. Of course, we are also told that it’s better to give than to receive, but how many people really believe that?! Running a business, on the other hand, is generally thought to hold some obligations, and for you to do the giving. There’s good reason for that, workers, partners, referrers, all do giving to or for you throughout the year so payback isn’t a bitch, it’s a privilege. A good case can be made it’s a duty, and one with many happy returns.


As year end books are tallied it’s common business to be figuring holiday or year-end bonuses. Likewise there are company parties or events that may have recognition built in. Or taking key clients out, drinks with friends and, oh yeah, at least a little spouse and family shopping as well. Rather than being a burden, giving should be a strategy. That’s not cynical, no need to calculate return on investment. The universe has long proved to most that you get back what you give. Givers get, and all those cliches so giving may as well be part of a thoughtful plan. Sure, you may have “people” that handle gift mechanics large or small but there are some things you need to take account for personally.


No one is going to argue cash is meaningful but once given its value moves to entitlement and expectation. Give $100 dollars every year and it goes in people’s life budgets. Pick a physical gift and it may or may not be appreciated and forces you into tax obligations. While material things do matter they always pale in comparison to the most meaningful gift you can give: Appreciation.

If there’s to be a material gift, wonderful, but it must be in the context of why. Are you simply sharing wealth from a formula? Is it based on group or individual achievement? There are as many valid reasons as there are situations but rate three things:

  1. How clear is the why we are giving compared to the what?
  2. Does the gift truly have meaning? Nothing deflates gifting faster than false pretense.
  3. How personally is appreciation expressed along with the gift, or is that the gift?

The third item is very significant. Not every business can, or wants to materialize gifts. Appreciation, however, is a cost born only in sincerity and expression. Perhaps your position has you gifting to a large group. Does your speech or note connect personally. Think of the escalation of intimacy as a key to the quality of your appreciation. A photo copy memo or email hardly touches the way a handshake, eye-to-eye look and a word of specific appreciation rather than general. Also, distinguish your key people, maybe direct reports or top execs with even more personal touches. Everyone wants the love but the closer to the top, ironically, the greater the want to feel appreciated.


Gifting as a strategy should always have appreciation as its core. Your effort in giving should reflect your acknowledgement of the significance of the recipient. Personalizing, a private knowledge of a hobby or passion or sentiment will matter. Unless someone is desperately trying to make the month’s mortgage payment a gift will be valued by how much thought you put into the giving. It can be buying a round of drinks with a toast, a bottle of wine with a note or a trinket reminder from a shared experience memory. No matter what you present make sure you are revealing a piece of your heart with it. Not everyone is comfortable with sentiment so one needn’t gush. If you’re the strong silent type a few words with eye contact can pack plenty of meaning.


If you’ve managed to escape all the gifting responsibilities in your household save something for the spouse, you aren’t making up for it by rationalizing that you pay the credit card bill! Of course there are ridiculous levels of materializing and guilty gifts but think of the child who gets an expensive gift only to want to play with the box! Giving joy is the greatest gift a family can have. Saying you love is nice, passing a few words about what you love penetrates. A gift-giver may not always be appreciated on the day so don’t look for immediate returns. Like good investments relationships of value can last lifetimes.

There is nothing you can give that will surpass in meaning what you have in your heart. If there is something in there by goodness don’t keep it to yourself. You are the greatest gift you can give to anyone. A sweet word may not get the screams tickets to the sellout concert or one of those Lexus cars with a big red bow in the driveway gets but if your relationships are based on what matters most in life you won’t find the most valuable gift you have to give in any bank or anywhere on Amazon.

©2018 MyEureka Solutions LLC. For more BUSINESS THERAPY insights follow Tom @TomFoxTrainer, on LinkedIn or at www.myeurekasolutions.com/thoughts.



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