Psychological Barriers to Asking for Help

Improvement Insights Blog

Psychological Barriers to Asking for Help

Do you ever struggle with data analysis and problem solving? This might help:

“When I first built my first website for the QI Macros, it was pretty primitive and got going and got some things done. Then about 2012 I needed some help because it wasn’t quite doing everything it should. I resisted getting some help, but I finally found somebody to help me tweak the website and get it going on a useful path. Since then, things have become even more and more complicated with Google Analytics and pay-per-click and all the other stuff that’s going on out there, and it’s just become too complicated for one person to know how to do all of that stuff. I had to get ambitious enough. Adrienne on my staff went out and found people on odesk and other places and asked them for help to start figuring out how to solve some of these things that are going on, and they keep getting more and more complicated, so we need more help.

“Now I don’t know about you, but the first time you have to ask for help is painful, right? There’s a lot of people who are afraid to go to a doctor to get help about something because it’s a fear. You don’t know if you have the right doctor to do the right thing to figure out the right stuff. The same thing is true of projects. We have some wood chips out in the front yard and they’ve been melting down, but how do I go find somebody else to replace all those wood chips? I got to find out how to ask for help.

“I think there’s huge psychological barriers to asking for help. At the QI Macros, almost nobody calls up and says, “Hey Jay, I’ve got this data I don’t know what to do with. Can you help me?” People don’t do that. They don’t ask for help, and it’s like, “Why not?” Okay? Why be stuck? People would rather be stuck than admit that they don’t know how to do something. That’s kind of the thing I keep seeing: people are afraid to ask for help unless it’s a student who needs help with their homework the night before the assignment is due. We get quite a lot of those, okay? Students are not afraid to ask for help, but we can’t always help them because we don’t know what they’re trying to do.

“Anyway, so that’s my suggestion for this week, my Improvement Insight: If you are stuck about something, ask for help. Ask for help.

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Lean Six Sigma For Hospitals” and QI Macros [software]. Let’s create a hassle-free America. Let’s create hassle-free healthcare. Let’s get over our fear of asking for help. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”

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