We could all be masters at using our connections whenever and wherever we feel like it. Our connections are all around us. Free. Accessible. We run across them all the time in the office, on the phone, at parties.
But how often do people say: “Please help me, I can’t do this on my own”?
How often have you thought: “I couldn’t possibly ask”?
Life could be so perfect.
You are working on a project and you bump into a colleague and say “Oh, just a minute, I need your advise.” Quick as a flash you get input and it was something you hadn’t thought of. Within minutes your task is complete – and you could have struggled with it for hours, on your own.
You need to run an errand but don’t have a car and its going to be difficult to do it by public transport. You run to a colleague and ask to borrow their car.
Your wifi is on the blink and you need to skype far away family this evening. You drop in to the neighbor’s and ask for their password.
You know that your next career move depends on getting connected to a manager in another department. You ask in your department who knows anyone in that department and ask them to introduce you. You chat with your new connection and ask them what the best way is to get noticed by that manager.
You need to have someone with an eye for language read your document. Your friend is a professional writer so you ask him. In return, he asks you to check the consistency of a piece he has just written, because he likes having a second pair of eyes look at his texts.
Imagine how the productivity in your organization would grow, if people were in the habit of asking for quick, relevant input of each other.
But instead of using this free resource, our connections, we conduct whole conversations in our head about how we couldn’t possibly ask. After all, the other may think us foolish, weak, stupid. This, by the way, is me too. I think these thoughts all the time.
Will people really think these things? Will your colleague think you nuts for asking advice, or could they thing you brave, smart, enterprising? They may be delighted to be asked. They may be relieved that someone finally asked them, because they already were worried about parts of the project and without their input it may have gone pear-shaped. The point is, you have no idea what they think. You are a complex human being who has had plenty of people say no to you in the past and you don’t particularly want to gather any more no’s. So you don’t ask.
The only thing there is to do is practice asking. Get over whatever the past is telling us to be worried about. This is now, and you and I are up to something.
What would be foolish, is to not use the resources we have.
Lin McDevitt-Pugh MBA works with organizations to transform the way colleagues work together. There is so much to gain when all employees are leaders, and they all work with the same vision for their enterprise – whether it is a school, a doctor’s practice, a shire council.