“Anytime you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you know he had some help.”
~ Alex Haley
Help is one of my all-time favorite songs from The Beatles. I’m pretty sure it has little to do with the lyrics, and more to do with the beat and rhythm. However, there is one very important set of lyrics that is exigent to the song. Let’s take just a moment to inspect these lyrics and see how they can help you grow your career and more rapidly build your business.
“Help, I need somebody; Help, not just anybody…”
Every one of us has needed and will need help in business and life at some point. You may have often been the one helping others, yet it’s common to eschew asking for help when we know we need it. And what’s worse is this – we often “shop” that help as if we’re comparing brands of toothpaste!
It’s a natural to have success spurred by early learning, education, knowledge, mentoring, and coaching. The problem is that analogous to leaving college, many people think that the growth and learning can be scaled down. It ends up being less of a priority and falls behind new sales and a myriad of other business objectives. You won’t find many business professionals stating that they think ongoing knowledge is a bad thing. However, it is common to see a largely diminished desire to reach out for help when it’s not clear that it’s needed.
The reason is three-fold. First, many don’t think they need it. They believe their collected experience and acumen is enough to carry them through anything. Second, they would rather invest in other areas than themselves (employees, equipment, structures). Third, they are embarrassed to admit they might need help.
Here’s the problem… In today’s rapidly changing and volatile world, you need more help than ever before to not only stay afloat, but to be on top of the wave!
Let’s change that paradigm right now with my 4-step fix:
First, consider you as the most important asset and investment to your organization (whether you own it or not). This is a mindset. You must genuinely believe that investing in yourself to constantly and consistently get better every day is not only important, but imperative to career growth and success. There is no better investment you will ever make in life than in yourself.
Second, transfer that knowledge to others. Think of it like being on an airplane and being told to put your mask on first before helping another. You can’t help others if you’re not in solid position. However once you are, you can help others around you to “breathe,” and enhance their own skills and talents.
Third, be vulnerable enough to realize when you need assistance with something in your business. It might be increasing revenue, reducing your risk, managing a transition in management, or improving your leadership acumen and skills. When you need professional help, base it on your return on investment, not just the price. If you’d need a brain surgeon, you wouldn’t seek out the cheapest one. If your child needed advanced education tutoring, you wouldn’t haggle down the price to get a “good deal.” Too many can fall into the trap of cheaper is better because the ROI is all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s almost always the other way around.
Fourth, make it a priority to implement. Getting advice and help is a huge waste of money and time if you never use it. Implementation is the hardest part because it requires an investment of time and often involves significant change. Neither is easy to deal with, however that’s why you needed to the help to begin with! Commit to putting your newfound education into action. Set metrics for success and chart it to make sure you’re achieving it. When I bought my Fitbit, that little device kept me more accountable to activity and fitness than anything I had ever used before. Without measuring the results of your performance, how will you know you’ve gotten better?
Finally, rinse and repeat. This isn’t a one-time investment in you. That is a common mistake made by business professionals. As long as you’re working in your career (or simply alive for that matter), this continual evolution must continue to bring success, significance, and enrichment. Then you get to live the career and life you always imagined.
Do yourself a favor – ask for help to improve your condition throughout your life; get that help form the person or people that are the best at what they do; and then go help someone else in turn because you have tremendous value yourself.
© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
This is my July 2015 column for the Kitsap Business Journal…