A set of tools for mastering the one skill standing between us and success: the ability to ask for the things we need to succeed.
Imagine you’re on a deadline for a big project, and feeling overwhelmed. Or you're looking for a job, but can't seem to get your foot in the door. Or you're dying for tickets to a sold out concert, and all your leads have gone cold.
What do these problems have in common? They can all be solved simply by reaching out to a colleague, friend, or wider network and making an ask.
Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It helps us find new opportunities and new talent. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well. And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we tend to think.
Here, Wayne Baker shares a set of strategies—used at companies like Google, GM, and IDEO—that individuals, teams, and leaders can use to make asking for help a personal and organizational habit, including:
• A quiz to identify your asking-giving style • SMART criteria for who, when, and how to ask • “Plug-and-play ” routines that make requests a standard component of meetings • Mini-games that incentivize asking within teams • The Reciprocity Ring, a guided activity that allows people to tap into the giving power of a network
Picking up where the bestselling book Give and Take left off, All You Have to Do Is Ask shows us how to ignite the cycle of giving and receiving by asking for the things we need.
Advance praise for All You Have to Do Is Ask
“Asking for help and support has been a key to my success. Wayne Baker expertly shares how everyone can do it.”—Shellye Archambeau, former CEO, MetricStream, and board director, Verizon and Nordstrom
“Wayne Baker shares the formula for driving personal, organizational, and social change by tapping the power of our teams and networks for help. This insightful book is a must-read for anyone seeking practical and proven solutions to make our workplaces and world a better place.”—Noel Tichy, professor, University of Michigan, and author of Judgment and Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will
About the Author
Wayne Baker is Robert P. Thome Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan. He currently serves as Faculty Associate at the Institute for Social Research and Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations. Baker is a frequent guest speaker, management consultant, and advisor and board member of Give and Take, Inc., developers of the Givitas collaborative technology platform. He has published numerous scholarly papers, four books, and articles appearing in Harvard Business Review, Chief Executive magazine, and MIT Sloan Management Review. He earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University and was a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University. He resides with his wife, son, and Birman cat in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Over the past fifteen years, Wayne Baker has taught me one of the most important lessons of my career: The biggest barrier to generosity is not that others are unwilling to give, but that we’re afraid to ask. In a book that’s simultaneously engaging, evidence-based, and practical, he shows how we can become more skilled at making requests and more comfortable with receiving help. His advice will put you in a better position to achieve your goals and build stronger relationships along the way.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“Simple and eye-opening, this invaluable book by Wayne Baker shows us how individuals, teams, and organizations alike can tap the huge hidden potential available to us anytime through the powerful act of asking for help. Very useful!” —William Ury, co-author of the bestselling Getting to Yes, author Getting to Yes with Yourself
“Gives readers stories they can relate to and tools they can apply to get and give help that will make their lives more productive and their jobs more satisfying. It shows why human communities remain important in the digital age, and how leaders can cultivate positive organizational cultures that help people succeed.”—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor at Harvard Business School and author of Think Outside the Building
“Sometimes our most powerful ideas are the simplest. Wayne Baker has grounded the power of reciprocity in a book that is loaded with simple, research-based insights and strategies. All You Have to Do Is Ask provides useful advice for helping readers get more of what they want at work and in life. An absolute must-read and follow!”—Len Schlesinger, Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School
“Asking for help may be one of the hardest things individuals have to do. Yet it is critical to our success. Expert Wayne Baker creates a compelling case for why we need to leap past this internal hurdle, for when we do, the miraculous can emerge. Based on years of grounded research on generosity, reciprocity, and organizational networks, All You Have to Do Is Ask provides the practical nudges necessary to overcome our bias for self-reliance.”—Michael J. Arena, author of the bestselling Adaptive Space and former chief talent officer, General Motors
“In his new book, Wayne Baker shares the formula for driving personal, organizational, and social change by tapping the power of our teams and networks for help. This insightful book is a must-read for anyone seeking practical and proven solutions to make our workplaces and world a better place.”—Noel Tichy, professor, University of Michigan, and author of Judgment and Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will