Gaining An Edge

Gaining An Edge: Ask For Help When You Don't Need It

Any work product can be improved; help is often available simply for the asking. Seek those having diverse backgrounds, as you will see perspectives you haven’t considered.
Most of us believe we can perform assigned tasks ourselves, certainly not needing any help. This is something that is instilled in us early on, perhaps even part of our culture of self-reliance — showing everyone, including our boss, we can do it ourselves, without assistance. And yes we can, but does that lead to the best outcome or product possible?
I believe, as do others, that if you gain the viewpoint or assessment of those with different perspectives, you often improve the outcome you seek. Think about it. You, me, and most others think from a certain perspective. More-or-less informed tunnel vision. Our solution is from our perspective and our perspective alone. But what about the advancement of our solution by adding a different twist, salient point or broader view gained from someone with a different perspective. We wouldn’t have thought to add that perspective had we not reached out to others. But we did and our outcome is better.
Do like Steve Jobs did early in his career – he asked for help. He called the CEO of HP at age 12 requesting various computer components. In return for the request he received the components and an offer of a summer job. As he was later quoted, “…most people don’t get those experiences because they never ask. I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help.” He added, “Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask [for help].”
Sometimes we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes we need more support than we normally do. But for the most part, we have an answer but the answer could be better. By seeking out those with diverse backgrounds, you often gain perspectives you hadn’t thought about. And when you integrate these perspectives into your solution, your solution becomes better.
And there is a by-product when you reach out to others for assistance. You show something of yourself, perhaps trust, perhaps a willingness to listen. As for the recipient of the request, the individual gains satisfaction and respect from the requestor, as in “he reached out to me, how cool.” You will be amazed how many people want to help you if you just ask!
Try it. You will prosper from the experience.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on each skill/attribute of a bonafide Business Development Director provided by Bob Lam. Bob is the principal and founder of Bob Lam Solutions and is affiliated with GovProp.
Preview Bob’s book People Buy From People, Navigating the Federal Highway at his website or go straight to for a copy.

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