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This Month's Topic: Asking for Help

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Hello from the Coaching Team!   Steve Jobs's Philosophy
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5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help   Coach Introduction:
Steffen Mai
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View the upcoming coaching dates   Contact us!
Hello from the Coaching Team
Dear Students,

When you are dealing with a difficult task or could really use some support, Asking for Help is the way to go. We are wired in a way that we eagerly help each other when we see someone in trouble. At the same time, however, we are very bad at noticing signs of someone requiring help if that person doesn't state this explicitly. Thus, this newsletter will provide some advice.

In our Video of the Month, you will get to know Steve Jobs's philosophy and the importance of being able to directly ask for help in order to achieve success. In our Article of the Month, we will look at five research-proven ways that will improve your ability to ask for help.

We are also happy to present to you our new coach, Steffen Mai, CEO of Mai Communications GmbH, who would be happy to help you succeed in your career through coaching.

In these newsletters, we publish content or info that we occasionally run into that we find inspiring, but actual coaching sessions can do so much more! Visit the coaching area on MyEBS to select a coach and book an appointment, or contact us. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Your Coaching Team
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Video of the Month: Steve Jobs's Philosophy
According to Steve Jobs, many people don’t get things done because they never ask for help. It’s actually not that easy to find even one person that doesn’t want to help when asked to. When Steve Jobs was 12 years old, he called up Bill Hewlett after finding his number in a phone book, and asked if he had any spare parts for him to build a frequency counter. Not only did he receive the required spare parts, but it also landed him his very first job at Hewlett-Packard. While Steve Jobs’s philosophy goes far beyond asking for help, it still plays a huge role when it comes to success. Being able to ask for help is often what distinguishes people that do things from people that dream about them.   Picture could not be loaded
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5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help
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When work doesn’t get done in organizations, it’s often not selfish employees that refuse to help others that contribute to failure, but rather people that simply don’t, or won’t, ask for help. According to Wayne Baker, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan, many perceive asking for help as a sign of weakness. “A second common barrier is nervousness about incurring social debts or obligations,” which cannot be measured. Thus, many prefer to avoid this kind of uncertainty.

The following five steps to get better at asking for help are based on Baker’s research, “Paying It Forward vs. Rewarding Reputation” (https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2014.0920).

1. Earn responses to your requests by generously helping others in the first place.

If you build a positive reputation as someone who helps others, others will also want to help you. This includes not only the people you helped directly, but, as Baker’s research has shown, also people that simply know of you being a helpful person. His research has also shown that reputation is short-lived: “An old reputation for helpfulness gets you nothing!” It has to be continually renewed.

If you assign helping others a high priority in life, you will not only have an easier time receiving help, but also stop worrying about uncertain social debts or obligations.

2. Know what you want to ask.

Baker has observed many people struggling with the task of coming up with a request. A common refrain is this: “I’ve always wanted to be in a room with knowledgeable, well-connected people and be able to ask for anything. But I can’t think of a thing!” Always have a current project in mind that is outlined regarding its required resources: materials, information, data, or advice. Then, you can use the SMART way of asking, outlined in the next step.
  In the long run, it might make sense to always keep clear goals for one’s future that fit into a big picture. One example can be the Vision of Greatness, developed by Ron Lippitt. That vision should be inspiring and strategically sound. Having a clear vision combined with a reputation for helpfulness will maximize your success.

3. Ask SMARTly.

“Many requests are so poorly worded that it’s difficult to respond.” A SMART request is specific, meaningful (why?), action-oriented (specific action required), real (authentic), and time-bound (deadline). A SMART request is much easier to respond to than to one that misses one of the five criteria.

4. Don’t assume you know who and what people know.

In Baker’s experience, underestimating the willingness and ability of others to help is a common mistake. When he facilitated the Reciprocity Ring for a global drug development team, one scientist made a request he thought no one could fulfill: “I’m about to pay an outside vendor $50,000 to synthesize a strain of the PCs alkaloid. I need a cheaper alternative.” Almost instantly another scientist responded, saying he had slack capacity in his lab and was willing to do it the following week for free.

Even if people can’t help you themselves, they often know others who can.

5. Create a culture where asking for help is encouraged.

“Make it easy to ask for and give help by setting the tone, norms, and practices in your work environment.” At IDEA, an industrial design firm, employees are actively motivated to ask for and provide help. They are coached to assume that the challenges to face on a daily basis will constantly require help from co-workers and personal networks. Thus, the company is living a so-called “culture of helping”.

“Remember that reciprocity is a two-way street. Giving and taking are essential for individual success and positive cultures. If you’re a giver but don’t ask for help, remember that people want to reciprocate.”
Original article: https://hbr.org/2014/12/5-ways-to-get-better-at-asking-for-help/
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Coach Introduction: Steffen Mai
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Steffen Mai is the CEO of Mai Communications GmbH, a design agency with a strong focus on branding and brand communications. After his apprenticeship as an industrial clerk and five years of working experience at Nixdorf Computer AG, he studied business with marketing being his core area. In 1993, he received an MA in Applied European Studies.

Starting off as a consultant at Arthur D. Little, his career took him through multiple industries and, specifically, design agencies. Having gained lots of experience and a broad network, he finally founded his own design agency in 2000, the previously mentioned Mai Communications GmbH.
  Steffen Mai’s motivations are closely related to this month’s topic. He became a coach in order to be able to give more, and through that, achieve a higher level of happiness and satisfaction.

Being a positive, but straightforward person, he does expect his coachees to have at least one topic ready to discuss, be it an aimed-at passion or a challenge. Steffen Mai’s exceptional strength lies in analytic and strategic thinking, while he states his strong will to control as something he considers a weakness.

He loves his work. Thus, he admits that there is little time left for voluntary social commitments. However, he does support many foundations financially and is involved in charity.

His hobbies overlap with his job. Even in his free time, he likes to be involved in interior design, architecture projects and art. And when there is still time left, he spends it on traveling and horse riding.

Steffen Mai would be very happy to use his newly acquired coaching skills and business experience to help you succeed in your career. He is offering coaching sessions in German. Contact us to book an appointment with him!
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