We’re all the same about help. When it comes to giving it, we’re more than happy to do it. Helping others brings many emotional rewards, such as a boost of happiness, energy, a deeper sense of purpose, and better relationships.
But when it comes to asking for help and taking it, that’s another story. It requires us to drop our guard. Vulnerability is powerful, but it takes courage to allow others to join us and help.
At an individual level, asking for help is more and more accepted. It’s one that made some headway in recent years. But, of course, you knew that already because it’s not a new idea.
But what about the collective level? What about when a group asks for help together, when an organization does it at an institutional level when it clearly communicates their needs?
Non-profits do it already. They are experts at asking for time, money, and other resources. In exchange, they provide deep emotional value.
What if you are a private and for-profit company? Can you and should provide the same kind of emotional value by asking for help too?
We’ve all seen the large corporations that try to adopt a noble purpose that sounds fake and asks you to help reach it. But, unfortunately, that’s maybe not such a good idea to replicate.
There might be value in enrolling people to help your private business if you’ve built your business around a cause that serves everyone. The cause doesn’t have to be lofty and world-saving. It can be something tiny and practical. In fact, I would argue that almost all businesses are built like that, but many either forgot about it or forgot to recognize it. As a result, the reason why they initially started is buried.
I used to work for an independent pharmacy that started three generations ago to serve a small local community. In 2008, during the financial crisis, the business struggled. However, the owner was courageous enough to ask for help from customers, friends, and families that relied on them. In doing so, he revived the nature of his company: a network of humans helping each other.
Beyond the commercial transactions you’re trying to generate, there might be value in thinking about the emotional transactions you are generating. They might be worth much more than you think. Unexpected events reveal their true value.
Asking for help shows that you are conscious about what it takes to achieve an opportunity bigger than your company. It also shows that you are aware of your organization’s purpose.
Building a Strategic Narrative is about the view of the future that is shaping your actions today. And it’s also about how you are asking for help.