When Just in Time is Not Just the Right Time…

Even if you just read the title of Harvey Mackay’s book and apply the lesson from there, you will be far ahead of most people.

The book title is:

Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty (link)

The title says a lot.

Think about it:

You don’t plant the seeds today and expect to pluck the fruits tomorrow morning.

You don’t deposit a dollar in the bank today and try to withdraw a hundred dollars from there tomorrow morning.

You don’t meet a charming person at the bar and get on your knees to propose to her right there.

In the first case, natural laws will prevent you from getting the dream outcome.

In the second case, the math doesn’t make sense.

In the third case, it is purely a lack of common sense.

I can go on and on with more examples. You might be thinking this is too basic and there is not even worth discussing.

Let me give you two real-life examples of job-seekers violating the rules oblivious to the fact that their acts are making them lose the mindshare of their network.

1. I got an email from an acquaintance that I had met a few years ago asking me to forward his resume to my contacts. I was on bcc and I am guessing there must have been a lot of people like me on his bcc list.

2. I saw another acquaintance who claims to be very good in marketing and communications posting a public request for help on Facebook. In short the post said, the person not been able to land a marketing job for several months and referrals would be welcome.

In the first case, this is really poor use of weak links in someone’s network. A referral is an implied endorsement and without knowing someone for a reasonably long enough, rarely will someone walk the extra-mile to endorse.

In the second case, it is the wrong use of a public social network especially for a marketing person.

3 Takeaways

1. Handle the Asymmetry With Grace and Gratitude

In general, when you reach out to someone for help, recognize the asymmetry in returns for investment of mindshare, time and network for the other person. Every minute they spend on your case could have been invested elsewhere where they could have had a better return for their time. You have to acknowledge and handle this asymmetry with grace and gratitude. Better yet, you have to reciprocate for even trying to help at the first available opportunity.

2. Put Yourself in the Recipient’s Shoes

Before you make that call or send that email, put yourself in their shoes and think “what’s in it for them to even care” for your request. It is your responsibility to work hard and craft something that counts. If you don’t, you are probably taking them for granted. You may be blind to that fact, but make no mistake that the recipient sees that you are taking them for granted clearly.

3. Increase Your PGQ to Build Future Obligations

Let us revisit the digging a well before you are thirsty.

Good concept, but, how do you do that?

You start by improving your practical generosity quotient (PGQ) – a ratio of capacity you added to the capacity that was needed for the other person to move the needle in a significant way.

Here is a short video on how to improve your PGQ

In summary, before you send that email or make that call for timely help, stop and reflect to see if the timing is right for them – after all it is THEIR time and mindshare that you are requesting for.

Photo Courtesy: Rambonp on Flickr