While you may think that cutting prices and beating the competition are the best ways to get ahead, you may be surprised to learn about a far easier and more meaningful to help your business succeed. Zack Obront’s article, “How You Can Get Ahead in Business In Just 5 Minutes” in Entrepreneur, describes the simple but effective strategy for moving your company into the fast lane and feeling good about it. Obront talked with Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, about the benefits of doing five-minute favors for others that can reap rich rewards. The takeaway from both book and article is the principle of helping others in order to help your business. Here are some basic ways to do brief favors for others without bankrupting your personal schedule and free time.
Use your talents:
Share your specific skill set to help others who can benefit. For example, if you are a gifted speaker, offer to present the committee’s new proposal at the next staff meeting. If you are a technology whiz, spend a few minutes showing a new employee how to navigate a job-related app. Not only will your good deed be appreciated and remembered, but will also establish a reputation for stellar skills that set you apart at work.
Orchestrate your favors:
Avoid accommodating everyone who asks for favors. Look for ways to offer your services before someone can ask. Make the gesture on your terms, at your convenience, rather than allowing yourself to be distracted at work or interrupted at home due to someone’s pressing need for help. You might set apart a certain time-frame, such as 30 minutes right after lunch, or Friday afternoons as the week winds down. This can help to protect the rest of your schedule while providing slots for helping others.
Maintain a positive attitude:
Give of your time and talents wholeheartedly rather than complain or sulk about it. A negative attitude can render a good deed null and void and may even relegate you to social isolation. Remember, smiles are free, or share them generously. Everyone is struggling with something, so any help you can give will almost certainly be appreciated. Patience in assisting someone to work through a complicated process or in dealing with a difficult customer sets a good example and designates you as a positive role model.
Being the person who others trust and come to for help at times that do not interfere with your job duties or personal life will make both you and your colleagues feel good about your workplace relationship. Reach out to others the way you hope they will extend a helping hand to you if needed.