This year I’m making a New Year’s resolution about my work life. I’m resolving to ask for help at work more often.
I head up Give and Take, and we make Givitas, the software that thousands of people are using to ask for and offer help. I have no problem giving others help–people who know me hopefully find me pretty willing to make introductions, write recommendations, offer advice, etc. But I still sometimes have trouble asking for help myself.
However, as I’ve learned from Dr. Wayne Baker, asking for help is absolutely essential to a happy and productive work life. And no matter how much I know and how much experience I have, there are always going to be instances where it would save me time, money, hassle, or frustration to ask someone to help me instead of going it alone.
So in 2019, I’m going to try harder to ask my colleagues and professional network for help.
I’ll be doing it using Givitas, but I want to invite you to join me to ask for work-related help using any medium you have at your disposal. Then post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn with the hashtag #JustAskGivitas and you’ll be entered into a giveaway–a free, signed copy of Give and Take by Adam Grant. You can tell us what the request was or if you don’t want to share the request, tell us how it felt to ask or whether you got what you needed.
You can ask for help in person, by email, at the water cooler or copy machine, on Zoom, Skype, or best of all on Givitas. No matter how you do it, tell us about it! #JustAskGivitas
However, asking for and offering help on Givitas does have some advantages that other methods just don’t have. Every single update or upgrade we make is designed to make the entire process of asking for and offering help quick, easy, and efficient, so we’ve gotten pretty good at it, and Givitas is easier than other methods for these 4 reasons:
1. Givitas reduces the stigma of asking for help and makes it so much easier.
It’s hard to admit I need something, much less worrying that someone might think I shouldn’t have asked, resent the interruption, or wonder why I can’t find the answer myself. Academic research and my personal experience shows that doing it in a space where people expect questions and are in a mindset of productive generosity is just easier. We see it happen all the time…people who are very independent and self-sufficient (often to a fault!) start to pipe up when their company introduces Givitas and they finally have a “safe” place to seek help.
Also, in Givitas, help is a click away. It should take you less than 5 minutes to post your request, and the answers you get could save you hours or even days!
2. Givitas expands your network.
When I always ask the same few people in my known network, I’m missing out on a wealth of diversity of opinion. I’m missing out on solutions or connections I can’t even imagine. I’ve seen it a hundred times in Givitas and in our in-person exercise, the Reciprocity Ring…someone has an issue that they’ve already floated with the people they know, and they haven’t gotten any help. So they think help doesn’t exist. Then they ask a group of relative strangers, and solutions are suddenly there for the taking.
There are often times when we actually don’t know who to ask, and that’s one of many reasons we don’t like to ask for help. We actually don’t know who to ask! Sure, if you do know who at your company has the exact answer you need, it usually makes more sense to go straight to them. If I need to know about the status of a new feature we are adding to Givitas (which we are always working on) I go to Dave, who will have the answer. However, if I am looking for some feedback on a new product idea I have, I’m not sure who could have valuable input into that process–it could be the person I least expect!
By posting in Givitas I am able to harness collective intelligence, experience and ideas from the whole team. Often the greatest collaboration and innovation can come from places you least expect it. I don’t want to lose that opportunity by just asking one or two people. Posting in Givitas gets more people involved, spreads the effort out across the team and can lead to mind-blowing innovation and collaboration.
3. Givitas makes it easy to be a giver.
In my experience, most people want to be helpful but may not know how or have the time. If you ask a question in Givitas, people can hook you up with an answer, an introduction, an example, or a resource in less than 5 minutes a day, which means you get your answer and they get to feel good about helping someone. Givitas also enables collaboration and innovation across the whole organization.
4. Givitas gives you metrics and analytics.
In a purpose-built platform like Givitas, we are able to provide metrics and analytics on who is giving help, who is asking for help, what networks connections are being made, what departments are collaborating more than others, and the list goes on. With metrics we can start to measure the giving and collaboration that takes place in our organization, which gives us the tools to better manage it. I have been saying for years, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
So please join me for the #JustAskGivitas January challenge. If you’re using Givitas already and have been watching requests come and go, it’s time to make one yourself! If your company isn’t using Givitas yet, ask for help at work using one of the traditional methods. Post about it on social media with the hashtag #JustAskGivitas and you might just win a signed copy of Adam Grant’s Give and Take!
What to Ask For
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Think about your thorniest work challenge. What help could untangle it just a bit for you?
- What’s keeping you up at night?
- What would save you 3 hours of research this week (or even 30 minutes) if you just had the right recommendation, idea, or resource?
- What piece of advice would make your project/career/work life amazing?
- Who do you need to meet?
Alternately, if you’re willing to ask for help at work but less comfortable offering help to others, I’d like to challenge you to post an offer on someone else’s request. Your information, advice, or experience can be incredibly valuable to someone else, especially if they’ve asked for it!
I hope you’ll join me in the #JustAskGivitas January challenge! Feel free to tag me personally (@larryfreed) and/or our company (@giveandtakeinc) as you post. I’d love to see how it goes for you!
One last quick note…did you see Adam Grant and Givitas featured on Good Morning America on 12/27? Dan Harris did a great segment about the importance of generosity. Check it out.
Happy New Year!
If you’d like to see a demo of how Givitas can help people at your company get equal access to the knowledge and experience of their peers, we’d love to show you a demo!Request a Demo