Are you an ASK-Hole?
One of the “SMART” Actions I encourage my workshop participants to focus on is asking for help. It is seldom that we can accomplish our goals without help from others, and yet, it is very hard for many people, including me, to ask for help.
Here are some types of requests we should think about making:
· Getting our needs met at work. If the work environment is not meeting our own motivational needs, we are going to experience stress, and this can cause us to divert needed energy from working on critical business tasks or pursuing our career goals. But frankly, most of these items are easy to accommodate if we just ASK: “May I skip this Zoom meeting so I can concentrate on task__________? May I use headphones so I am not distracted by the surrounding discussions? May I have a few minutes at the next team meeting to discuss_______?”
· Asking for help in achieving a business or career goal. Let’s suppose you have set a goal to increase the productivity of a process by 5%. You could ask for help in the form of ideas from everyone currently working on the process. Where do they see opportunities?
· Asking for help in getting information. This involves real curiosity. For example, who are the top sales people in your organization? What do they do differently than everyone else? How can you learn from them?
· Asking to shadow someone or get an experience you need. Let’s say you have a goal to be in merger and acquisitions, but you have never had any experience in that area. You could ask a mentor if you could shadow her/him in a few meetings.
· Asking for Feedback. We all need feedback, but we often have to ask for it. This is such an important topic, I am going to devote a whole blog to just that.
There are probably others as well, but you get the idea. There are lots of requests we could make of others that would help us accomplish our goals.
There are some RIGHT ways to go about this to increase the effectiveness of your requests:
· RIGHT Frame of mind. We need to ask as if we expect the answer to be yes, even if it isn’t yes.
· RIGHT Person. We need to make our request of someone who can actually say yes.
· RIGHT Question. We need to ask the question in a way that makes it manageable for the person we are asking. This usually involves being very clear and specific in your request. It is not good enough to ask for a raise. We should ask for $200 more per month, for example. If this is then out of the budget for our boss, we can ask specific follow up questions, like what would be in the budget (that would make it work for you and me)? And what would have to be present for me to get the $200 more per month that I seek? This then opens the dialogue with our boss about what the organization and business needs are that potentially we can help meet so that the raise is attainable. ASK IN YES/NO TERMS and remember the POWER COMES IN WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, eg the follow-up discussion.
And then of course there is persistence. If person A says no, Person B might say Yes. And Person A might say yes on a different day and under different circumstances. There was an interesting study done by Herbert True, a marketing specialist at Notre Dame University. He found that:
44% of all salespeople quit trying after the first call
24% quit after the second call
14% quit after the third call
12% quit trying to sell after the fourth call
And yet, 60% of all sales are made after the fourth call. This reveals that 94% of all salespeople don’t give themselves a chance at 60% of the prospective buyers. Persistence pays off.
So what do you need to ask, ask, ask, ask for?
What is stopping you from doing so?
What is the cost of not asking?
What is a payoff that you might get?
How can you become an ASK-hole?