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Help Out When Asked. Seek Help When You Need It.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity and pleasure to attend the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management’s commencement ceremony to watch my sister-in-law Remy Feldman (Hi Remy!) graduate with her MBA.

Andrew Youn, a 2006 Kellogg graduate and founder of the One Acre Fund, gave the keynote address.

During his speech, he talked about One Acre Fund’s mission to supply smallholder farmers with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Instead of giving handouts, it invests in farmers to generate a gain in farm income.

He told stories of the impacts the organization has made and continues to make in helping raise standards of living for people across the world.

But the words he spoke that made the most impact on me were simple.

He said “Help out when asked. Seek help when you need it.”

It’s so simple.

Help out when asked. Seek help when you need it.

At Tech Image, we work in an environment that holds cohesiveness and alignment among its chosen values. It’s a virtue that speaks to teamwork and supporting one another through good times and through tough times.

The first part of Youn’s philosophy seems obvious: help out when asked. If someone asks, you pitch in. It’s a corollary to The Golden Rule we all learned as small children: treat others how you would like to be treated.

The second is more complex. Seek help when you need it.

Sometimes, it’s easy to let our ego get in the way and think we have all the answers. Personally, I learned a long time ago that I don’t. And it can be scary, letting your guard down enough to ask for help.

But what some may view as a sign of weakness, others may see as a sign of strength.

In his book, Traction, Gino Wickman tells a story of the entrepreneur who slips and falls off the edge of a cliff.

On his way down, he grabs onto the end of a vine. He’s hanging there, 1,000 feet from the top and 1,000 feet from the bottom. He feels hopeless, so he looks up to the sky, and decides, for the first time, to pray.

“Is anybody up there?” he asks.

After a long silence, a deep voice bellows down from the clouds:

“Do. You. Believe?”

“Yes!” replies the entrepreneur.

“Then let go of the vine,” replies the voice.

The entrepreneur pauses, looks up again, and quietly responds,

“Is there anybody else up there?”

The moral of this story is that everyone in the organization, regardless of level, should be encouraged to ask for help when they need it and the organization should support them, up, down or across the business.

One of the unique attributes of Tech Image is our relationship with our parent company, SmithBucklin. That relationship enables us to have the resources of a large company and the agility of a small one, which means we can tap in to a much broader set of resources and capabilities than other firms of our size.

Help out when asked. Seek help when you need it.

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