Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

Appraisals for Results

by Guy Ralfe on January 13, 2010

For many it is performance appraisal time of year, a time of reflection and setting of goals for the coming year. It is a frantic time as everyone digs deep to recall the goings on of the past 12 months. The net result is that employees are really only as good as the most recent performances their manager can recall at the time of the interview.

At the same time bonus packages are being calculated and targets adjusted for the coming year. This measure is usually computed month over month and so it does amass the individuals performance over the period. The trouble though, is that employees only appear to be conscious of this metric for the last 6 weeks of any bonus period as it is usually in this time frame they then can comprehend the chances of achieving their targets and gaining the benefit of a financial bonus.

For all the effort placed into the Appraisal and Bonus process it yields a relatively low return.

I read a quote made by Jacqueline Novogratz in her contribution on Dignity in the ebook What matters Now released here on Active Garage.

“Giving a poor person food or money might help them survive another day… but it doesn’t give them dignity. there’s a better way. Creating ways for people to solve their own problems isn’t just an opportunity in 2010. It is an obligation.”

Motivating individuals and aligning an organization is a difficult task at best, but if we think about it in the context of Jacqueline’s quote, making the goals and performance metrics to support building an individual’s dignity we could better produce the longer term objectives the appraisal process sets out to achieve for the organization and the individual. Today’s process supports the survival approach to objectives, not the fostering, growing and building produced through teaching someone how to do something.

Here are a few thoughts I had to create such a situation:

  1. Shorter time frames – measure and reward on a quarterly basis. Building dignity repeatedly will enforce the behavior.
  2. Center goals around the employee – focus on the employees ambitions and align the organizational metrics to that. When you are hungry you look for food, associate the corporate goals with the food and you will get a person working to take care of themselves and as a result the organization at the same time.
  3. Formulate don’t deliver/direct – mandating a goal is the same as being given something and not knowing how to fend for it again. Formulate a plan in a way that you educate how to attain the goal without directing to the goal. This produces stimulation, thought and learning which will go a long way to help individuals fend for themselves and the organization in the future.
  4. Social Dignity – we are all social by nature and need our networks to survive. Produce situations of dignity for the individual in their social network, at work or at play, will increase their stature as a result of attaining their goals.

Being human is to take care of ourselves first, look to that to produce better results from your employees and your organization.

The Difference Between Balance and Harmony

by Robert Driscoll on January 8, 2010

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Everyone wants their life to be perfect with no concerns and in perfect harmony and balance.  Or do they?  If you think about it, a perfect life with no concerns would actually be pretty boring where you have no disagreements and no worries.  Your life would be like a stick in the stream with no obstacles.  In reality though, life is full of challenges.  Some challenges you can foresee them coming, but most of the time you can’t and it’s how you deal with these challenges that defines you and your identity at home and in the marketplace.  Everyone strives for balance and harmony in their lives, or so they say, but is there a difference?

There are several definitions for each.  For balance, one of the definitions states that balance is a point between two opposite forces that is desirable over purely one state or the other.  With harmony , the definition states that it is an order or congruity of parts to their whole or to one another.

If you take a moment and think about both definitions, they are actually very different.  If you are striving to have balance in your life, then by the definition, you will have to ease up on something or give it up to bring your life in balance.  In the end you might not be fulfilled by having to give something up that brought you some pleasure in life.  Granted, if what you had to give up was causing you or those around you pain, then it’s understandable.  While many of us say that we want to have balance in life, do we really want to have something always pulling on us?

This leads us to harmony.  Life is full of challenges and we face them every day in our marriages, our friendships and in our professional lives.  Learning to work through these challenges and not letting them overwhelm you by accepting and understanding them and by working through them and eventually embracing them, you can have a more fulfilling life.  At the same time, embracing the good things that come to you in life and taking advantage of these moments will make life that much more enjoyable.

Like Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Instead of trying to achieve balance in your life and always fighting or dealing with opposing forces, try to find harmony with everything that comes to you and embrace it.  Accepting the challenges that come to you in life and working to improve the areas that bring you joy in life will open up the space for new possibilities  which in turn will make your life more fulfilling.

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A little more about Projects

by Himanshu Jhamb on December 7, 2009

ProjectA while ago, I had written about “What a Project is Not”? This post is an extension of that post in which I will discuss why projects are needed and what projects, in fact, are. You will probably get as many interpretations of what a project is, as the number of people you talk with and most of them, are probably right in their own way. But, we are not talking about right or wrong here; we are concerned about what makes for a more powerful interpretation and that’s that. This obviously leads us to the question:  What makes something powerful? The answer is really simple – Anything that is in alignment with why it was invented in the first place makes up for a powerful way of existence. In Projects speak, this would be the purpose of the Project.

So, Why are Projects needed?

Projects are needed when old practices and ways of doing things no longer generate effective results or worse, generate breakdowns that we have to cope with. One of the most common sources that generate the need for projects is the rapidly changing marketplace. Today’s marketplace (as opposed to the one that existed 30-40 years ago) calls for the invention of new projects at breakneck speed. All you have to do is nothing for a month (probably, not even that) and you’ll see how your competition edges you out to obscurity.

What do you need to Invent a Project

The most fundamental thing that is needed even before a Project can be invented is – You must be “Up to” something. It can be as simple as going from point A to point B OR as complex as going to the moon. What you are “Up to” defines why you are inventing the project.  Entrepreneurs are inventing projects all the time. Projects teams are enrolled in this “Project mission” and “execute” on a “plan” towards achieving this goal.

How are projects brought into existence?

Projects are brought into existence by making specific declarations of what it is that will be produced at the end. There are, of course, other parameters on which specific declarations are made around – scope, time line and resources, to name a few but, at a fundamental level these are all declarations of producing a specific result by a certain time frame.

Projects are Costly, yet Unavoidable and Necessary

This is perhaps, the only guarantee, a project carries. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but true. Projects are inherently costly (we obviously see this as an investment – that’s why we incur the cost, but I’ll continue using the word “Costly” for now)  and what makes them so is that it takes time, energy, money and lost opportunities to learn the new practices & tools that are needed to run the project, efficiently. Then there are the costs associated with resources and then there are the many unknown costs – that only show up during the execution of the projects.

It would be a disservice to the topic of projects if I ended on the rather somber “Projects are Costly” note… Projects are also unavoidable and necessary … in that, they will continue to exist and invented as long as the marketplace continues changing and businesses find themselves coping with the changing landscape. Projects have an immense capacity to produce exceptional results to take care of the concerns they are invented for – as long as they are planned for, managed and executed well.

<Shameless Plug Begin>

At Active Garage, we keep tinkering on projects. We have two projects (one completed and one still going on) and more to come. Please check out our current projects here:

1. defiant, a social media powered eBook

2. BLOGTASTIC series

</Shameless Plug End>

Learning and Timing

by Thomas Frasher on December 4, 2009

long_range_targetMy article this week is about timing. There is an old saying “Experience is what you get, right after you needed it”.

There are things that you can time, the coffee maker, the bus schedule and so forth. There are many more things that you cannot time and attempting to time them is a mistake.

For Example: timing the stock market, similar to gambling in Las Vegas, where everyone knows the game is rigged and plays anyway. Attempting to time the stock market will eventually get you if you are playing alone. That’s why successful stock brokers get paid no matter the outcome of your transaction with them.

Timing certain types of projects is also a mistake. I work in the large scale software industry and if a project is an addition to an existing product, timing makes sense and indeed is necessary. If, on the other hand, we are building something completely new to the world, we cannot time it, and we are almost never able to resist the urge.

For things that are new to the world, much must be learned, therefor the time required is the time needed to acquire the knowledge to complete the project; be that brain surgery or a new software product. The knowledge and the skill must be acquired over time, a practice must be developed that retains that skill and then the project can be timed. Usually at that point you have completed at least the first pass and are ready to move on. Only after you have the experience can you time the next iteration, and even then, if you are doing something that is new to you, your team or the world, you need to take the time to learn.

I’ve said is almost all of my articles, you will not get where you are going alone, you need help. Help can come in many forms: parents, friends, acquaintances, government structures, business structures, etc. The number one thing that, as business people, we can find to help us are teachers. Find someone better at what you do than you are and learn from them. Learn everything you can, from everyone you can. Be discriminating in your teachers though, find the best, if you find someone better, switch. Move fast and learn to learn fast.

With learning comes obligation. As I said before, you need to learn from great teachers, you must have something to offer them in return like money, time, etc. In return you must spend some of your human capital to learn: time, lost opportunity, money etc. Education comes with a price, you must pay it. When you stop learning you are finished.

Another point about the obligation of learning; you must teach. There is a Buddhist maxim “To know and to not do is to not know”. Teaching cements your knowledge, it is a mechanism of our minds that when we teach we learn as well, the subject we are teaching. So to learn, you must teach, find a student, and be a student.

Go find something new to learn! Stretch your mind and teach someone else something new! Do it for yourself.

Managing Your Identity – Telephone Etiquette

by Thomas Frasher on November 20, 2009

whats_in_your_telephone

A professional business people our identity in our marketplace is extremely important.  Identity or brand is an early indicator of the cost of doing business with us. A well respected identity results in lower cost to your marketplace, no matter what that marketplace may be.

Today’s article focus’ on a single aspect of identity management that has raised itself to me several times this week: Telephone Etiquette.

How many of us use conference calling and online meeting sharing systems (Skype, GotoMeeting, Meetingplace, etc) to conduct our meetings?  I have been in 8 conference meetings this week where 2 or more participants were not geographically located in the same area as the main meeting.

Given that we are more and more, required to conduct business in a more virtual fashion, identity management takes on a different complexion. With a virtual meeting, there is little if any visual cues to help people move the conversation along or not step on one another verbally.  Today’s article gives some simple guidelines for making conference calls work more smoothly and helping to build your identity as a competent business person.

1. Pay close attention to your proximity to the telephone or microphone.  Voices will be softer or louder based on this distance and can give the impression that you are either not paying attention or that you are otherwise engaged.  Remember people are "seeing" with their ears on a conference call.

2. Don’t tap the table that is holding the telephone or microphone.  While those in the room may not be able to hear it, the mechanical noise will be transferred to the phone or mic and it is very distracting on the receiving end. Likewise shuffling papers near the phone of mic can be inordinately loud and prevent others from actually hearing what was said.

3. No Side Conversations! This sends a clear message that you don’t consider others thoughts valuable, if a side conversation starts up, as a business leader you need to stop it or bring it into the main part of the meeting.

4. My pet peeve, make sure the other person has finished talking before making your contribution.  care must be taken to manage the meeting so that all the opinions are heard and all the information needed to be passed is passed. I personally must work to remember to not talk over someone. It is very rare when that is required, so be on the lookout for this one.

5. Pay attention to what is being said by others. You have no permanent lock on good ideas, so make sure you are open to the ideas of others, it will improve the quality of your own ideas.  Another peeve I have is when it is obvious that the other person is simply waiting to start talking and they are only gated by me speaking, they are not listening (I admit I’m guilty of this as well).  If you listen carefully to the other people on the conference call you may find the your opinions of them and their contribution may change.

Above all remember to respect your virtual meeting colleagues, which is what the list is all about anyway.

Rules for the sake of Rules

by Himanshu Jhamb on November 3, 2009

rules sake rules“I am really sorry, sir. It doesn’t matter what you have to say about why you need this specific service because it is against our policy to provide this. I want to save you the time of going over why you need what you need as we simply cannot provide it.”

I was told this at a local Walgreens a few weeks ago.

All I could do was stare confoundedly at the store representative. I mean, what can you, the customer, really do when the provider tells you that they don’t even want to LISTEN TO YOU? You do what I did – stare confoundedly at them.

I have come across so many instances of this that I am led to believe this is no trivial matter or a one-off instance. This is a serious issue plaguing the customer service industry and if you think you are perhaps not impacted by this, well… then you are probably not in the business of making money. The solution to this issue, ironically, comes from within the company itself. All it takes, in most of the cases, is another “more helpful” representative of the company who simply and genuinely wants to “help” the customer. Even if they end up with the same result i.e. not being able to provide what the customer is after, they try and try and try until they exhaust all possible options. They don’t tell the customer that they don’t want to hear them out because they care for the customer’s time. That is, in fact, complete bullshit. All that tells me is that the representative wanted to save HIS/HER time and it surely sounds a lot better if he/she said it was about saving the customer’s time. In my specific case, I simply went to a neighboring branch (of Walgreens, again) and got what I needed from a “more helpful” representative who found a way to help me, without breaking the rule… and he found a way by just spending an extra 10 minutes listening to my problem. Heck! Even if he had not been able to help me after the 10 minute of my cathartic problem-telling, I would’ve still come out a happy customer – a customer that was at least heard out.

The lesson to learn here (for me and perhaps for you) is to consistently question the rules and the rule-enforcers in your organization to ensure the purpose of the rules (i.e. helping your customer) is not being lost in the process of upholding the rules. Here are a few good ones to ask:

  1. Are you or your employees following the rules blindly and in fact, turning customers away OR are they putting some thought into the situation and EXPLORING if there is any way they can help the customer without breaking the rules?
  2. Are you or your employees enforcing the rules with a level of rigidity that is in fact hurting your customers or are you looking to “help” the customer, even if it means you might have to “bend” the rules a little from time to time.
  3. Most important one: Are you turning the customer away with a big fat “NO” the moment you sense a rule might be broken if you help them in the way they need help OR are you at least, starting out with a magnanimous YES and are willing to HEAR THEM OUT!

The next time you remember a RULE, think of why it exists and see if the RULE itself defeats the purpose of why it exists… that’s a sure shot giveaway of a rule that needs to be inspected and perhaps, overruled!

IP Strategy – Part II

by Thomas Frasher on October 16, 2009

IP Strategy Part IIIn the last article we discussed the need to create a cohesive IP strategy, in this article I’ll discuss the first step in creating your strategy.
Like every article I’ve written on this topic, I’ll remind you that you need help, and you need the best help you can get.

Strategy Creation:
A few guidelines to help things along:
1. Be clear on why you are creating an IP strategy. All reasons are valid, some will work better than others. For example: if your goal in creating an IP strategy is to to tell all of your friends how many patents you have; you may want to think a bit more deeply about what you will do with those assets (make no mistake they are assets if treated right) and how much you are planning on spending to create them. On the other hand if you plan to exploit what you have invented, create a new business, and bring new products to the marketplace, then you are thinking in the right direction for strategy development.
2. Determine the direction you want your IP portfolio to grow into, find your market landscape. For instance; if you are making wire coat hangers and you suddenly come up with a new idea to make them cheaper, faster or in some other way better for the same cost, that’s a great invention in your current market landscape. If, on the other hand you make coat hangers and you come up with a great new telescope design, you may want to think about the new invention within the direction of your market landscape and the way you prosecute that innovation in the marketplace. Is it a different marketplace? The direction component of your strategy helps to keep costs under control. Costs can include nearly everything you can think of, from time spent thinking about the innovation, to the actual patent write up and filing fees, and everything in between.
3. Determine what areas you are NOT going to explore, such as a wire coat hanger manufacturer working on auto parts cleaning machines. It doesn’t matter what limits you put in place but you must at least think about them, and draw limits that suit your situation and remember they are your limits, you can change them any time you wish.
4. Determine when you will start, never when you will stop, and start. Create consequences for not starting, and rewards for getting going. Innovation should never stop, it must be continuous if you are to be successful in the long term.
This all sounds like a lot of work and, that said, it’s not a trivial task. However, as humans, we are what we practice, and our practices define us. Therefore you need to develop a practice of creativity, and a practice of managing your strategy.

So, having read all the above; It’s time to get moving!

The Blinding Task Orientation

by Himanshu Jhamb on October 12, 2009

Task OrientationThere are countless instances in my life when I have wondered why my hard work has not paid off the way I had expected it to ‘coz I had heard so many times (from so many people) that it really pays to work hard. Evidently, I was missing something. My quest for solving this mystery led me to investing in my education (after a drought of almost a decade), finally, and I learnt why hard work, by itself, is not enough to get the results that we are after.

I realized that the way I was working was self-defeating in itself. Yes, I was working long hours (very long hours), I was tired, sweating-it-out and simply slogging it out. I was doing what I was told and I worked really hard to finish it in time and when I was done with that one thing, I went to the next task. What totally escaped me was that in “task-orientation” i.e. my single-mindedness of completing the task; I was simply blind to the overall purpose of what I was doing and in the process, did not end up producing much although it felt like I had moved a mountain (or two!).

If you can identify with this feeling… keep reading…

As an example of what “Task Orientation” looks like (or shows up as) in real life, a recent event comes to mind. I was working with a team member on a project where we were figuring out a piece of software on how we can make it work for using it to deliver some audio/video content. My astute colleague figured it out pretty quickly and I requested him to send out an email with detailed instructions on how to use the software to the rest of the team so that everyone can start utilizing it to do their work more effectively. My colleague sent out the email in the next 15 minutes with 3-4 brief steps and the final step (which was where the meat was) was garbled (perhaps a result of a shoddy cut/paste attempt). 3 out of 4 team members responded for clarifications and a flurry of emails followed to rectify the situation. Imagine how easy it would’ve been if my dear colleague would’ve given just a little more time to thinking of the PURPOSE of the request rather than treat it as just a “Task” that had to be taken care of quickly. The difference is admittedly, subtle, but the consequences, unfortunately, are not.

I have been culprit of many such emails in the past… (and I apologize now to all those who received those emails from me that added “Cost” to their life) and have learnt to take care by following a few simple rules to take care of my natural inclination to the “Task orientation” in my work and not get trapped in it. Here are a few of my simple rules:

  1. Know the recipients of your emails: Who are you writing to? Are they aware of the context of your email? If not, provide some background before you dive into what you have to say.
  2. Know your recipient’s proficiency in what you will be talking about in your email. So, for example, you will be writing a very different email if you are giving technical instructions to a group of developers vs. a group of managers.
  3. Make sure the links or any references you provide in your emails, WORK. Test them out yourself before sending the email out. It is “Very Costly” for the recipients to click on the links you provide in your email that do not work.
  4. Cutting & Pasting (especially software code or configuration stuff): If you are cutting/pasting anything that you want others to take “as-is”: Cut/Paste it in the email body and also cut/paste it in a simple text editor (e.g. notepad); save the file; attach it and then send the email. The attachment serves as a backup plan. It takes care of the situation in which any “hidden” or “Special” characters inadvertently find their way in your email and gives your recipient a “second-chance” to receive what you wanted to send them without them going through the trouble of sending you another email asking you to resend the cut/paste text. That’s a HUGE Cost Saving!
  5. Include your signature at the end of your emails: How many times have you received emails from others, had a question you wanted to speak to them about immediately but could not get in touch with them because all you saw at the end of the email was a “Thanks!”? Do your recipients (and yourself) a favor – Do not be that person.

Imagine the assessments you trigger at the other side of the email with your recipients in your everyday communications. Imagine how you’d show up for them in your emails  if you “took care” to write emails with these rules. You will show up as someone who really “cares” for their time and your time. On the other hand, “Task orientation” only produces lots of activity… not necessarily productive and leaves people with quite a few negative assessments about you.

The choice is yours… and so are the consequences of it!

Choose with care!

Branding – Get the mix right!

by Laura Lowell on October 8, 2009

get the mix rightConstructing the optimal mix is part art and part science.  The art lies in understanding the nuances between the different marketing vehicles, how to craft copy tailored to the marketing vehicle, and how to combine copy with creative for the optimal impact. The science lies in the measurement and tracking of the effectiveness of various vehicles at delivering your message to the target audience in the context of the stated communications objectives.

There are two pieces of information that directly inform how we create the marketing mix.

  1. How does our target customer gather information? : Who do they go to for recommendations?  Do they search online or do they ask for suggestions from colleagues, friends or family?  Who influences the purchasing process?  Answers to these questions help us to target the influencers as well as the target customers.
  2. How does our target customer want to receive information? : Do they want a lot of detail but not very often?  Do they prefer to get more frequent information with less detail?  Do they like phone, email or old-fashioned paper and envelopes?  Again, this information will directly impact the types of marketing vehicles we invest in.

Marketing vehicles have a defined purpose and should be used according to the stated communication objectives.  The following is a summary of the primary marketing vehicles, definitions, purpose described in terms of awareness, demand generation or lead conversion, and examples of each.  This is not an exhaustive list, but is a great start.

Awareness:  Ensure that customers know you exist – eyes and ears

Demand Generation:  Attracting customers to your products/services – call, click or visit

Lead Conversion:  Converting prospects to revenue – customers

Marketing Vehicle Definition Purpose Examples
Advertising Mass communications that broaden perceptions. Awareness

Lead Generation

Broadcast (TV, radio), Print  (newspaper, magazine), Online (banner ads, site ads)
Collateral &  Sales Tools Material describing a product, service, or solution used to support sales and marketing efforts. Demand Generation Brochure, card/flyer, catalog, cover letter, envelope, datasheet, folder, binder, video, presentation, promotional item, poster, banner, magazine, newsletter, competitive brief, instant reference guide, order and configuration guide.
Customer Testimonials Customer endorsements illustrating the impact of the company product, service or solution. Demand Generation

Lead Conversion

Quotes, case studies, success stories, references, speaking engagements.
Direct Marketing A method of contacting individual customers directly and obtaining their responses. Lead Conversion Direct mail, telemarketing, addressable media.
Event An in-person or online occurrence designed to increase awareness, accelerate sales, and build relationships. Awareness Tradeshow, road show, seminar, conference, hospitality, executive briefing, webinar, online seminar.
Incentives Providing equipment, discount or rebates to entice customers to try and/or purchase products, services or solutions. Lead Conversion Demo equipment, evaluation and trade-in, free sample or trial, mail-in or instant rebate or gift with purchase.
Internal Communications Use of any marketing vehicle to keep employees informed. Awareness Broadcast/webcast, leadership meetings, internal websites, newsletters, webinars, etc.
Internet Marketing The use of the internet to promote, advertise and sell goods and services. Awareness

Demand Generation

Lead Conversion

Websites, pay-per-click advertising, banners, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, blogs, webcasts, podcasts.
Co-Marketing Funds and tools provided to partners to enable them to execute specific marketing strategies and tactics on behalf of the company. Awareness

Demand Generation

Affinity marketing, affiliate marketing, lead generation, co-op marketing, channel incentives, partner compensation (SPIF)
Market Research Research undertaken with the purpose on increasing understanding of markets, customers, competition, design and positioning of products, services, or solutions. Demand Generation Primary, secondary, syndicated, campaign testing, ad testing, competitive benchmarking.
Merchandising Materials created and displayed in retail locations for the purpose of affecting product selection and purchase. Lead Conversion Brochure, demo, samples, lugon, highlighter, posters, banners, rebate, selection guides, tear pads.
Packaging The physical material used to contain product including materials on-box or in-box designed to improve the customer experience. Lead Conversion Physical packages, inserts, literature, software, stickers, illustrations, installation guides, user manuals.
Public Relations Activities that focus on industry influencers to establish the public image of the company and its products, services or solutions. Awareness

Demand Generation

Press releases, endorsements, article placement, interviews, news conference, press tour, press kits, media briefings, product reviews, 3rd party releases, speaker’s bureau, white paper placement.
Viral Marketing Activities that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness, through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. Awareness

Demand Generation

Word-of-mouth with online enhancements, blogs, audio and/or video clips, flash, games, advergames, etc.

Ask For Help And Free Your Mind

by Robert Driscoll on August 27, 2009

create ideasEvery writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller

Recently, like many writers, I was having a hard time coming up with new concepts to write about.  I was struggling and at first I didn’t want my colleagues to know and, more importantly, I did not want to let down ActiveGarage by not being able to contribute.

As luck would have it, our Active Mentor, Rajesh Setty, happened to be in town and I was fortunate enough to sit down with him for a couple of hours before he flew home.  The first hour of our “meeting” was your typical get together with common questions and just plain catching up.  As we continued with our conversation, I finally mentioned to Rajesh that I had been struggling recently with finding new material to write about.  I had the infamous “writers block” and I wondered how I got this so early on in to my journey with ActiveGarage.  With so much information available to us at our fingertips how could this possibly be happening?

The next hour of our conversation was about what I could write about.  We were tinkering with new ideas.  He was helping me get out of my rut.  With his help, I was thinking again all because I reached out for help.

While most of us find it hard to ask for help because of our fear that others might see it as a sign of weakness, once you become comfortable asking, it can be very empowering and liberating.  As psychologist Dr. Deborah Serani states, “Asking for help creates an atmosphere of empowerment. It communicates to others that, while you may not have the answers, you are willing to find them and make things better.”

So how do you ask for help?

  1. Recognize and identify the problem.
  2. Look within your network of help on who to go to. This step can be the hardest because so many people don’t like admitting to others that they have a problem to begin with.
  3. When you reach out for help, be direct (and polite of course).  Tell the person you are reaching out to the problem you are experiencing.  No one likes to deal with a passive-aggressive plea for help.
  4. Be clear in your request for help. It’s important for the person you are asking for help to understand not only what your breakdown is, but what your desired end result should be.  This is easier said than done, but very important.

Think of how you feel when a friend reaches out to you for help and you’re able to assist.  Great, right?  Well, it’s never too late to reciprocate and ask for help.