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Unlocking Team Potential: The Power of Asking for Help in Business

Amanda McKeen, taking the lead during a WFR training.
Amanda McKeen, taking the lead during a WFR training.

Ever been part of a team where something felt off, lurking beneath the surface like an unsolved mystery? That was the scenario with the team of A-players I was working with. Let me take you behind the scenes.

Picture this: every Monday, our team, loaded with talent, declared three weekly goals, fostering congruency and accountability. Subsequently, we gathered each morning Tuesday through Friday for a brief 15-minute huddle, a rendezvous for discussing client and operational specifics, all in the pursuit of collaboration—the elusive 'hive mind' thing.

Yet, beneath the veneer of smiles and smooth sailing, a profound question lingered: 'Do you have any roadblocks or barriers hindering your pursuit of goals?' Leadership aimed to foster an open dialogue. Some spoke up freely, addressing queries and issues head-on with the support of seasoned colleagues. But a trend emerged, a silent struggle beneath the surface. Many chose to remain silent, masking their challenges behind nods and cheerful wishes, only to face them in solitude later.

Unbeknownst to the team, a cascade of issues went undisclosed, simmering beneath the surface. It raised a critical question: 'Why aren't they asking for help?' Was it a reflection of our culture or leadership? This question sparked a transformative journey for both myself and the team.

In my quest for answers, I stumbled upon an insightful Harvard Business Review article titled ‘Why It’s So Hard to Ask for Help,’ outlining six common reasons:

  1. The fear of vulnerability.

  2. The need for independence.

  3. The fear of losing control.

  4. The fear of rejection.

  5. Overempathizing with others.

  6. A sense of victimhood.

Armed with these insights, I crafted a 25-minute training session titled 'The Power of Asking for Help.' The team delved into the six reasons we resist seeking assistance and explored five ways to rewrite our inner script:

  1. Seek counsel.

  2. Reframe.

  3. Take a SMART approach.

  4. Communicate.

  5. Practice.

The impact was palpable, sparking discussions and a newfound awareness. Some preferred one-on-one help, prompting a realization: personal comfort in seeking assistance varies. And that's ok!

Boosted by the success of the training, I decided to tweak the daily routine. The question morphed from 'Do you have any roadblocks or barriers?' to 'How can your teammates help you today to get work done faster, better, or smarter?'—a subtle, yet powerful mindset shift from 'lone wolf' to 'no man left behind.'

Change was in the air, and the team embraced it. Post-training, several members expressed gratitude, even seeking permission to share the recorded session with their families. It was an honor, aligning with my deep-seated passion to help people become better versions of themselves.

In the grand scheme of our intricate nature, I haven't stumbled upon a universal remedy, but a profound truth echoes: 'If we want others to think differently, we must ask differently.' As business owners, this probably resonates. The key to unlocking our collective potential lies in the transformative power of seeking and offering help—a paradigm shift that echoes through our daily interactions, fostering a culture where no one is left behind.

-Amanda McKeen, Owner and Operations Consultant


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