In many dealings throughout my career, including myself, it seems commonplace that people do not want to admit they need help. From physically, mentally, in life, or in business, our egos seem to always keep us from reaching our full potential.
As It Relates to Business
When it comes to the business world, why do we allow ego to kill our businesses? Truly successful people understand their need for help. They understand what their gaps are and the need to use others to close them. Outside help is the help that is normally needed. If the organization had internal knowledge and skills, they would have driven the needed improvements. The exception is if you have superstars that you know are some of the best in the industry working for you already, but you have pushed them to the side, maybe you need to unleash them on the organization. In my opinion, there are three main reasons why people do not ask for help and/or any combination of the three.
9 times out of 10 the cause of ego is due to a lack of knowledge. People with ego believe that they know more than they actually do, which creates overconfidence in their abilities. Einstein’s Theory of Knowledge states that Ego = 1/knowledge. In other words, the more knowledge you have, the more you realize you do not know, thus, less ego.
Fear normally ties to ego. It is the fear of looking incompetent due to the lack of knowledge that would drive the need for help but is refused. People fear to look like they cannot do a certain task or job. It makes them feel inferior and that is not a feeling that people like to experience. Great leaders understand that they need help, which is why they are successful.
To understand the cost of help, most people look at this backwards. They look at bringing in help as an expense, not an investment. For example, if I were contracted to do work for $100k, people look at the $100k and say that it is expensive. What if you looked at it as an investment, understand that you will provide a return much greater to the organization. If I were to help you resolve issues that are troubling your organization, it is possible to get a 10 to 50 time’s investment or even more! The best of all is the fact that you are now the hero.
My growth took off exponentially when I realized I did not know everything and I reached out for help. I spent many years thinking that I was the best, and I was, at managing the reactive state of maintenance. I had no concept of proactive maintenance. I just knew that my job was to keep the plant running, and I did just that. Working 20 hour days was my responsibility.
The Defining Moment
One day, as we were working on the implementation of a CMMS system, I met a gentleman that told me everything that I was doing was of truly no benefit. He sat me down and walked through some of the things I should have been doing and what I should not have been doing. He told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. In my current state of immaturity, it made me mad, but I also knew that he was only trying to help me. I told him I wanted to be the best, so if he could help me than I am all ears. He did just that. He loaded me down with books, answered my questions, and taught me things that I had no clue about. It began to open my eyes to this larger world that exists, and that is when I realized that I did not know anything, compared to what I thought I knew. From that point forward I began hiring anyone from the outside that I could to help me overcome my gaps, my weaknesses and help develop my strengths.
What are some reasons as why we think we do not need help?