Why do you find it so hard to ask for help? It’s all about you, you, you…

A huge change project is identified.

It’s outside of the strategy, the plan, and the budgeted roadmap – or maybe the problem is that none of those exist! Putting each of those in place is the change that is required.

You’re heading up HR or transformation and the urgency that is required for the change means that you have to work out which plates you are going to stop spinning and which ones you can’t afford to drop.

Does this sound familiar?

Despite this being a significant change and one that needs lots of unplanned resource allocation, planning time and focus, you can’t help but plough on and think about how you are going to deliver it.

When you analyse it, a few things typically become apparent. The reason you didn’t ask for help was probably for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You were asked personally – it felt like it was a request for you and your team.
  • You know the change wasn’t budgeted – asking for more money feels counterintuitive.
  • The need is urgent – the whole process of finding any support quickly enough means that you just can’t hand this over to anyone.
  • Others will have to understand – The BAU you were meant to be delivering will have to take a backseat, be reprioritised, picked up within the line.
  • Control and fear of failure – You’ve become successful through your own endeavours, you know how important this is, you can’t afford to get it wrong.
  • The exercise is about saving money – it would be counterintuitive for you to be spending the businesses money on an exercise that you are meant to be saving the business money on.
  • You’re a people pleaser – you wanted to repay the faith that was shown in you by being selected for this project.

So what makes for a successful project?

Some of the most successful projects I’ve ever run, unsurprisingly, had the following aspects:

  • Expertise and partners were available and already identified.
  • Projects were well planned and sufficient planning time was available.
  • Budget was put aside for the delivery.
  • Additional plans and support were considered and planned for BAU.
  • The savings that were required included costs necessary for delivery.
  • It was accepted that things would change, wouldn’t align 100% to the plan, and instead would need to adapt, but most importantly……

I was asked what support and resource I needed!

Why?, because they guessed I may not ask.

A different perspective – what you need to ask for:

1. Ask for resources

When you are asked to take on a huge change project, it doesn’t literally mean you. Be flattered that you’ve been asked, but the real expectation is that you will identify what tools, resources and costs are needed to deliver the project.

2. Develop partnerships in the quieter times in between

Find those partners you can rely on and work with them regularly. They’ll learn your business. They’ll be ready when you need them, and they’ll want to make sure they never let you down. This relationship will become key for them, and you.

3. Show with your project planning that the support is necessary and get your partner to help you to show where the value will be added 

Anyone who wants to win your business will want to help you build the business case. If they have to jump through multiple hoops, have to “get through procurement” and the Board, etc. etc. they will want to help less. So remove the barriers and work together. If you make the buying process easier, they will make the business case easier.

4. Failure is almost guaranteed

With 80% of change projects reportedly failing, it is a false picture to think that by retaining full control you will avoid failure. Indeed, it’s more likely.

Projects and their outcomes change, and when you are doing a people related change project like a restructure, it benefits you that things change and that others provide independent challenge and solutions.

5. Reduce the urgent needs

It’s incumbent on any senior HR person to have strategic conversations. If you are not in the room it can be difficult. But, if you want to be a real and legitimate people pleaser and you want to avoid having constant conversations about urgent projects that come in left field, you have the power to change this.

Of course, being in the room isn’t enough. When you are in there you have to have a voice. You have to get across what the impact is of poor planning, what the impact is of you not been involved in the conversations earlier enough, and what task switching will do to the BAU and strategy you were building.

Ready to ask for help?

If you are ready to ask for help and would like to speak with us about how we can support you, your people and leaders, visit our organisational change page or give us a call on 01491 414010. Alternatively, complete the form at the bottom of this page to request a call back.


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