Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Give ratio

A thought:

When we commit an hour to something, how much do we give to it? An hour? An hour and a half? Half an hour? This is the Give ratio. 1, 1.5, 0.5.

Example: Jack commits to an hour of work but spends half an hour of it on facebook (0.5 Give ratio). Jill commits to work for an hour but stays a half hour later (1.5 Give ratio).

With a little abstraction, the Give ratio can be used to gauge more than just time investments. Energy is an investment, as well. The concept of energy can be used to capture the less tangible aspects of investment. Passion or commitment are forms of energy, as is extroversion, in Elana's case. Our Give ratio may not measure just the time returns on our time investment, but rather the effectiveness returns of the time we spend on a job.

Returning to the example above, Jack may spend an hour at his job but work only at half capacity--slowly or less effectively--because he's uninspired (0.5 Give ratio). Jill may spend an hour at work but really put her heart into the work for the time she's there (1.5 Give ratio).

We can calculate our Give ratio for a specific job, or during particular periods, or even for a particular time of day. I can Give upwards of 2.0 when under pressure or inspired, and less than 0.2 when unsupervised and not under pressure or inspired. Our overall Give ratio might be considered a sort of average, a characteristic amount of Give.

I would say in general I'm a 0.7 Give ratio kind of guy, and Elana is a 1.2 Give ratio kind of gal. The difference between our ratio and 1 is our Take ratio, or what we keep for ourselves. Mine is 0.3, meaning for every hour I work, I manage to steal back 18 minutes (60min*0.3=18). Elana's is -0.2, meaning for every hour she works, she gives (loses?) an additional 12 minutes.

Because she's a natural introvert, Elana expends a lot of her available extrovert energy at work, and comes home wanting time to herself. Her Give ratio of 1.2 captures this investment of extrovert energy.

1 comment:

Elana said...

This resonates with me. I see this phenomenon at work in several situations on an individual level and in group settings - it's interesting to try to conceptualize it. But I'm not sure you have the difference in our ratios correct. :)