A set of tools for mastering the one skill standing between us and success: the ability to ask for the things we need to succeed.
Imagine you’re on a deadline for a big project, and feeling overwhelmed. Or you’re looking for a new job, but can’t seem to get your foot in the door. Or you’re facing a personal challenge, and just don’t know what to do. What do these problems have in common? They can all be solved simply by reaching out to a colleague, friend, acquaintance, or wider network and making an ask. Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It helps us find new opportunities and new talent. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well. And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we think.
Here, Wayne Baker shares dozens of tools—used at companies like Google, GM, and IDEO—that individuals, teams, and leaders can use to make asking for help a personal and organizational habit, such as: SMART criteria for making an ask, “plug-and-play” routines that make requests a standard component of meetings, mini-games that incentivize asking within teams, and the Reciprocity Ring, a guided activity that allows people to tap into the giving power of a network.