Flowork - Social Capital Development Network

People are Lazy! Setting the criteria for asking someone to help you accomplish a goal

I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I thought I would discuss with you some of the criteria I've established for communicating goals. By no means is this an exhaustive list and you're more than welcome to add to it.

First off, I think we need to address an assumption; people are lazy. What I mean by that is that they don't have the time to figure out what someone is actually trying to do. For example, I need a job, can you help me? I get this a lot from my students. What I typically do is send them away and ask them to come back with more specifics. By asking an open ended question like that they are making me think; what type of job, where would you like to work, etc. After all, according to my wife I'm pretty lazy and if people ask me for help and are not specific, the likely outcome is that I'm not going to be of any use. It's not because I don't want to, it's just be cause I'm lazy.

Whenever we ask someone for help they may respond in 3 ways; 1) sure I can help you, 2) no I can't help or 3) I know someone who could help you. If we work backwards and use these responses as our guide it may help us set goals that people can react to quickly. In order for that to occur, we have to be as specific as possible. I like to use the SMART goal setting technique. Check out this page for details on the SMART method by clicking here. The SMART method represents the perfect criteria for setting up our goals to communicate.

If want to leverage the social resources that exist within our network and we make the assumption that people are lazy (I lead the way), we have to be able to communicate them in such a way that the contact can react quickly. If you have to make people work by asking questions, the likelihood of them helping dramatically decreases. It might not because they don't want to help it's just that we live in a busy world.


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