Expectations and the Law of Reciprocity

Life is about give and take. Business transactions often come down to making promises and delivering on them. If you want something, you have to give something. If you want a friend, you have to be a friend. If you want success, you need to help others become successful.

It’s called The Law of Reciprocity, and I learned how it works at a young age. We follow this philosophy closely at The Fedeli Group.

In second grade, I transferred to a new school, St. Gregory’s. I found out right away that I was behind in my studies. I could not ask my parents for help with my homework — my mom completed only seventh grade and my dad fifth. But I did not let that become an obstacle to getting ahead.

I found a classmate who was good at a subject I needed to improve, and I asked that person for help. The “payment” was often my mom’s homemade pizza — it was delicious and became quite famous at my school, where I traded great food for homework help.

Later in life, a reporter asked me, “How did you get to be such a great networker?” I said I learned it at St. Gregory’s on the first day of school when I forgot my lunch. I thought I would be nice to a classmate, saying, “If you aren’t going to eat half of that sandwich and apple, can I have it, and on Friday my mom makes homemade pizza, and I’ll bring you some?”

I brought a whole pizza that Friday, not just a slice. After that, I never had to bring my lunch to school again. The lesson here: under-promise and over-deliver. Manage people’s expectations, and you’ll build lasting relationships. Give and you will receive.

However, some people will abuse or ignore the Law of Reciprocity. They’ll take but not give back. In the end, those people will not get anything. They will lose. You need to hold strong and continue practicing the Law of Reciprocity in spite of those who just don’t get it.

The Fedeli Group is built on that belief. Relationships rule. People are the most important part of our business — our clients, associates, strategic partners, the community.

Think about this: Those on their deathbeds talk about people who mattered in their lives, not about business. It’s all about “who.” It’s all about deep connections and solving people’s problems because you simply want to help. When you do this, people will help you. That’s how the Law of Reciprocity works.

So, how do you put the Law of Reciprocity into practice? Think about the talents and skills you can possess. How do you give freely of those to benefit others, organizations and the community?

Then, focus on making contributions, not just piercings. Go above and beyond. Do more than expected. Start off each day thinking relationships are your first priority. Then find ways to pleasantly surprise the people in your life, to provide uncommon service, to beat expectations.