A few coworkers and I went to lunch at our favorite deli. As we waited for the meals to arrive we compared notes on our orders. Mine was an amazing tri-tip, goat cheese and fig jam sandwich, trust me it’s way better then it sounds. Someone commented that they also wanted that sandwich, but didn’t see it on the menu. I told them that I had mentioned to the staff that I was craving last week’s special and asked if I could order it. They checked and sure enough, the chef was able to prepare it for me. My coworkers were very jealous when my amazing sandwich arrived.
This short exchange reminded me of a tip from a mentor:
People are not a mind readers,
if you want something, you must ask for it.
I’ve refer to this advice when I am in need of courage to step up and ask for something.
One of my favorite asks was when my office needed to be painted. In a 60,000 sqft. building, it is only office that is a color other than beige. When people question why my walls are painted blue, my response is simple, I asked.
How did I get my employee to be able to work remotely after she moved out of town? I asked.
Benefit: I was able to keep a great employee in the team and reduce overhead expenses by not onboard a new staff member.
Why was I upgraded from a cell phone to a smart phone before everyone else? I asked.
Benefit: I was able to stay engaged with the office and suppliers while traveling. This enable me to stay connected with suppliers across the country during off shift hours, improving my productivity, and building stronger supplier relationships. Resulting in more desirable projects and a promotion.
How was I selected to lead a project with VP level visibility that resulted in a promotion? I asked.
Asking not only increases your chances of getting what you want, it also provides additional opportunities to interact with your manager. So make sure your ask is a good one. Provided that you are being strategic and not needy, these interactions can set you apart by showing that you are courageous, contentious, and thoughtful in your planning.
Before you ask you should consider:
- What is the impact to my manager, coworker, company?
- What is the business case for this ask?
- How does this ask make me a stronger asset?
What would you ask for if you knew the answer was yes? A better project, a new office mate, a raise?
Even if the answer is no, you may get a consolation prize, or start the conversation toward a yes.