September 27, 2004

News & Opinion: HELP! Giving and Getting It

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 5:18 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

We were taught to be independent... pull ourselves "up by our bootstraps" but those boots and that philosophy are out of fashion. People who are successful in their careers and businesses let people know what they need, ask for help--- whether it's in the form of leads, ideas, advice or information. Their "luck" is a result of hard work, savvy manners, perserverance and great followup Most importantly, people who create their own "luck" and turn serendipity to success... offer their help.
Sherris Goodwin is a successful entrepreneur and owner of the Hospitality Institute and Early Education Training Program and one of the hardest and smartest workers I know. As a former educator it was always her dream to train the people who would teach our youngest students as well as contribute to the hospitality industry.
She attends many industry groups in both arenas and supports the profession. At one meeting she met a young woman who was interested in the hotel business. Sherris, ever the 'teacher' and supporter offered to give her some help by providing the names and numbers of four people in the industry as well as lent her name to open the doors.
When questioned about her generosity to someone she really didn't know, Sherris Goodwin said that we all started somewhere, people helped her and she wanted to return that early support to the next generation.
Did the young woman who received support from Sherris ever make it to her desired goals? We don't know. Sherris told her that when she contacted those four people, to call her and she would get more leads and contacts. Unfortunately, the young woman was not a smart nor savvy networker. She never followed up with Sherris, did not get more contacts or support from a very generous woman. "And she never has attended any industry event since", Sherris confirmed.
The young business woman ,who asked for help, lost the opportunity to turn the serendipity of meeting Sherris and being the recipient of her generosity, into success.
The lesson: once we ask for help, we must followup and keep that generous matchmaker of networking in the loop to ensure ongoing support and relationship building. That's how we create our "luck"!