"Shifting one's focus from getting to giving is not only a nice way to live life, but a profitable one," said Bob Burg at the 2012 Business Forum, hosted by Fresno Pacific University.Lest the approximately 800 business and other leaders gathered October 24 at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center chuckle over their morning sausage and eggs, Burg means what he says. "Not only is it not naïve, but it's quite practical," he said.
Taking a page from his own book—literally—Burg based his talk on his best-sellingThe Go-Giver, which defines giving as "constantly and consistently adding value for others." This parable, written by Burg and John David Mann, has been translated into more than 16 languages.
At the center of Burg's message are his Five Laws of Stratospheric Success:
- The Law of Value—"Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment." Money is an echo of value, but value comes first. In a true free-market exchange, each side comes away better off.
- The Law of Compensation—"Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them." Satisfied customers increase your reach through word-of-mouth, becoming "an army of walking ambassadors," Burg said. The focus should be on total value, not price, since low price often comes with less service. "Selling on low price is a race to the bottom that nobody wins," he said.
- The Law of Influence—"Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first." This does not mean being a martyr or a doormat; simply that people do business with people they like, know and trust.
- The Law of Authenticity—"The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself." Each of us must live from our own core of strengths in order to be known, liked and trusted.
- The Law of Receptivity—"The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving." Here's where the two-sided coin comes in, or breathing. Breathing out is giving, breathing in is getting. "You've got to breathe in and out," Burg said.
True to his own philosophy, Burg gave his audience value. In addition to an animated delivery that used the entire room-length stage, he presented a sixth law: The Law of Left Field. "The most valuable gifts will come to you at moments and from places you least expect," he said. There's no magic involved, just the profit from persistence as we each touch lives of people who touch other lives. "You can't know where these gifts are coming from because you don't know how many seeds you've spread," he said. Burg also touched lives on the main FPU campus, speaking at a College Hour chapel and a luncheon in Ashley Auditorium.
The FPU Business Forum is among the largest events of its kind in Fresno, inspiring the community on topics central to the university: leadership, ethics and values, creating healthy communities and organizations. Past speakers include Blake Mycoskie, Ken Blanchard, Daniel Pink, John Maxwell and John Wooden. Among the 2012 sponsors are Wells Fargo; The Business Journal; Robert K. Kolbert, ChFC AEP; Dumont Printing; Bank of the West Commercial Banking/BNP Paribas Group; and the Zinkin Family.