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Powerful Social Networking
Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

Paying it forward makes social networks come alive – it puts the “ing” in social networking. Known in academic circles as generalized reciprocity, paying it forward builds positive networks with people who will help you in the future – and if not them, then someone else in the pay-it-forward chain.

Generalized reciprocity operates when a person does something of value for you “without expecting anything immediately in return and perhaps without even knowing you, confident that down the road you or someone else will return the favor.” (Putnam 2000:134).

How does it work for you?

When you pay it forward, you demonstrate generosity. You invest in your positive reputation. The more you help others, the more others will help you – even those who didn’t benefit directly from your positive actions.

Humax conducts workshops or offers T3s to your organization using interactive exercises, social capital assessments and online social networking tools to generate generalized reciprocity. We can even measure the improved culture and ROI as these practices are applied.

Hard to believe?

Consider these examples of success stories from people who have benefited from a Humax workshop:

Success Stories

This story comes from a member of BNI, the world’s largest referral organization. BNI’s founder, Dr. Ivan Misner, has utilized Humax’s Reciprocity Ring for years, with results such as this story:

Carol, who worked with an office supply company, participated in a Reciprocity Ring exercise. When it was her turn to make a business request, she stated that her company had placed goals on all sales associates to book at least one new corporate account each year. Her request was to get in touch with the procurement manager at Caterpillar, the largest corporation in her region. There were twenty members at that meeting and the room went silent. No contacts—except one! I told her that one of my employees, Eric, worked at the plant on weekends as a painter. I connected Carol with Eric and two weeks later, Carol was in front of the procurement manager’s desk and was awarded a few purchase orders to see how things went. One month later, Carol called to thank me that Caterpillar signed a “sole” source contract. I still buy my supplies from her and Carol’s Caterpillar contract has been renewed for 2010.

Our social networking tool, Reciprocity Ring, has been used with great success at some of the world's largest corporations to save time, money, and streamline processes:

Birdie Ball

As a supervisor, I run into obstacles every day. There are challenges I need answers to and I may not have those answers. By putting out a request, other supervisors may have the answer or may have a better way of doing it. I take their responses and then I can implement them; this saves me time and money. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel if somebody already has a better model

D’Arcy Gauthier

The power/value of asking for help: you get ideas and, perhaps, solutions. Others have an opportunity to share their knowledge, expertise, personal relationships, and connections. Both the giver and receiver feel good about the process. Moreover, the exercise really magnifies the importance and potential benefit of increasing social networking and sharing of best practices within the organization – not just for the business solutions, but also to help individuals solve the problems (personal) that consume time and energy. Their increase of referrals for the week was more than 300 percent. We love the Reciprocity Ring and we are glad to have the opportunity to use it.

Sometimes the effects of a Reciprocity Ring experience can take a while to pay off, but the results are still just as powerful:


I wanted to let you know my personal success story as a result of using the Reciprocity Ring. In 2007 when I participated in a Ring exercise, I said I wanted a job with Google in Ann Arbor. Many of my fellow Ring participants put me in contact with friends of friends or people they knew who worked at the company. Google wasn’t hiring at the time, but when it began hiring again in 2009, I got the job because I already had been in contact with someone who worked there!