An offering is both a give and a take when it’s a service or a product conceived with the intention of generating revenue in exchange. A gift is a thing or an effort that is given without expectation of return.

What if an offering could also be the gift of a service or a product without expectation of a return? What if the fulfillment a giver receives comes from the giving itself?

Transcending Financial Mechanisms

Steve Jobs once said,

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

“The difference comes from transcending the linear process of allowing financial mechanisms to drive creativity and gift.”

Jobs spoke these words as a description of how they approached the design and construction of the early Apple computers, expressing the intention to produce quality products because they wanted to produce quality products, not necessarily because of a financial statement that related the additional level of quality to a higher rate of return.

I’m sure that given the consummate business person that Jobs was that ROI was very much on his mind, but more than ROI there was a passion to make a useful quality product that people would want, together with a trust in the receiving of sales and revenues to fulfill their financial needs.

The difference comes from transcending the linear process of allowing financial mechanisms to drive creativity and gift, to gifting a quality product because the gift is itself the fulfillment received.

A Great Secret Revealed

Here is a great secret revealed to the leaders and CEO’s who may be reading this—your employees do not feel the same connection that you do between the work they do and the revenue the company receives as a result. Sure people work to earn a paycheck, but more so people work because they are seeking some form of fulfillment in the work itself—they are seeking to gift of themselves and know that the paycheck will just come.

An Offering Becomes A Gift When

An offering becomes a gift when we shift our intention to one of gifting quality and usefulness for the sake of gifting. This doesn’t mean we forego price lists, sales executives, proposals, and invoicing. It also doesn’t mean that we cast aside our spreadsheets and financial models. It means we do work that matters because it is what we wish to do, we gift our work because we seek fulfillment in the gift itself, we trust that through our authentic gifting the revenue side will take care of itself, and we do this in the framework of a financial model that supports our ability to gift.

This is the intentional space in which employees are engaged, customers are appreciative and tell their friends to use our products, and we exceed financial expectations. An irony, yes.

This is a subtle shift in intention that may seem small and insignificant … yet while subtle it is … the effects are huge.

Tip of the Week

Spend a few minutes imagining what you would do if you did your work for the sole purpose of gifting quality work. How might that look for you? What would you do differently? Who would you serve? The time you spend envisioning this might just provide a valuable insight or an inspiration.