Getting to Yes, And

Dr. Wayne Baker: All You Have To Do Is Ask


Dr. Wayne Baker

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Kelly talks to Dr. Wayne Baker who teaches in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan about his new book "All You Have To Do Is Ask: How To Master The Important Skill for Success."

I finished your book over the weekend and happened to be listening to a podcast where they were interviewing the poet David White and he was talking about how human beings can be reluctant to ask themselves and others a beautiful question.

“It's true. People have a great reluctance to ask questions and it comes from a couple of different reasons, a couple of barriers or obstacles to asking. People are concerned that they're going to appear to be incompetent or weak or that they can't do their job. But, you know, what's interesting here is that we need to update our beliefs based on evidence from research. There was some new research done by a Harvard Wharton team and they learned that as long as you make a thoughtful request, people will think you are more competent, not less.”

And you have scientific evidence that asking people for help is a good thing.

“People want to help. And you know, when you are vulnerable, when you ask for what you need, you discover that you can be more creative and perform better at your job. Tasks are easier to do. No one is an island or completely self-reliant. When we ask for what we need, we get the inflow of resources, ideas, opportunities, referrals, connections - all sorts of things that we need to be productive.”

I found it interesting that you talk about teams needing both strong internal and external relationships to maintain health and productivity.

“Absolutely. The best teams have strong internal relationships and external relationships. So you can imagine if you don't have good internal relationships where people feel psychologically safe, to give and get help, to ask questions and to admit mistakes, that would be a problem. Some teams have that, but they work in isolation and you know, they're just one out of the whole network. Teams need input from other parts of the organization, even outside of the organization. And they do that by cultivating give and take relationships.”

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