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    Marcel Schwantes welcomes Dr. Wayne Baker to this week’s Love In Action show. Wayne is the co-founder and board member of Give and Take Inc. He also serves as the Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. His work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Chief Executive Magazine, and Sloan Management Review. His teaching and research focus on social capital, social networks, generosity and positive organizations. He chats with Marcel about the art of making strategic asks as detailed in his new book, All You Have To Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success.

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    Show Notes

    • Generalized reciprocity is when one person helps another, and that person is motivated to pay it forward. The cycle of reciprocity eventually comes back around to the person who started it. [7:11]
    • Wayne realized that people had no problem being generous; however, many people struggle with asking for help. This is problematic because it is the request that drives the process of giving and receiving. [7:51]
    • Marcel asks about the barriers that cause us to be reluctant to ask for help. Wayne answers: [8:40]
      • We think we’d look incompetent. Making a thoughtful request, however, makes us seem more competent. [9:00]
      • We think no one can help. Wayne counters that you never know what or who people know until you ask. [9:25]
      • We’re too self-reliant. In the real world, work is a team sport. [10:16]
      • We don’t feel psychologically safe. The leader should be the chief help seeker, Wayne says. He or she should model the behavior that makes a psychologically safe workplace. [11:00]
      • Fear is also a barrier. Wayne advocates the behavior first principle: it’s hard to change people’s beliefs and then their behavior; instead, get them to do something different, and they’ll update their beliefs as a result. [12:54]
      • Bureaucracy, in particular organizational silos or excessive rules and regulations, is another reason. Wayne shares how cross-collaboration can help break these barriers down. [13:40]
    • Wayne describes his company’s digital platform, Givitas. He says it’s “based on the principle of enabling people to ask for what they need.” [15:40]
    • Marcel asks Wayne to explain why asking for help can mean the difference between success and failure. Wayne replies that when an individual asks for help, he/she is more productive, performs better, has higher job satisfaction and less stress. He also describes the benefits of asking for help on the team and organizational levels. [16:15]
    • A thoughtful request is SMART:
      • Specific
      • Meaningful
      • Action – you should ask for something to be done.
      • Realistic
      • Time – set a specific deadline. [18:27]
    • You should only think about who you should ask after you know what you want to accomplish and the resources you need, and you’ve formulated a SMART request. [20:08]
    • Marcel asks Wayne to define and describe the Reciprocity Ring. Wayne explains that it came out of a discussion with his wife 21 years ago. He describes how using it leads to positive attitude and behavior change. [28:05]
    • “People are more likely to do what is recognized and rewarded,” Wayne says. As such, he advocates rewarding those who make requests. [32:04]
    • Wayne shares a miracle that happened because someone gave themselves permission to ask. [35:05]
    • Wayne wants listeners to …”give yourself permission to ask, to think about what you need personally, what you might need professionally that will help you be more effective, more successful, and to make that request.” [39:30]
    • Marcel’s takeaways from this episode include:
      • “Make asking a personal and organizational habit and a cultural expectation in your workplace, and also have the tools and strategies in place to support asking.”
      • “…asking is the key to giving at work, at home or anywhere in your life.”

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    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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