I just read a newspaper article about why men avoid health care services like going to the doctor or getting health check ups and it occurred to me that many of the same issues could be appled to why so many of us are reluctant to get help in our business lives.

The article stated that "Sometimes men avoid getting checkups, an annual physical or recommended screening tests for other reasons.  They fear finding out something is wrong.  They think admitting, illness or discomfort makes them appear weak.  They worry that a problem may cause them to be passed over for a job or promotion" 

By the same token, how many of us have avoided asking for help with a problem in our jobs or refused to get outside help for the very same reasons i.e. fear that admitting there might be something wrong may make us look weak or less competent?  If my own experience is any indicator, the answer is that a lot of us (me included) have been in this exact situation.

The article featured a 37 year old man who, despite various persistent sypmtoms, put off getting a check up for several years.  When he finally did go to the doctor he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and faced long, painful, expensive and life-threatening treatment.  Of course, the irony is that had he gone for a checkup a few years earlier the doctors would have lkely found a small benign growth (polyp), reomoved it and sent him on his way with a clean bill of health.

Think about it - how many problems in our businesses go undetected because we take that same "fear of looking or finding out something bad" approach?  Keep in mind, I'm not just talking about negative or crisis situations but also those things that could be made better i.e. process improvements, cost reductions and quality of product or service improvements that could be implemented if they were viewed with an unflinching eye or, better yet, several sets of eyes!

The solution?  Stop trying to "tough it out" and don't be afraid to get a check-up now and then.  This could be through the use of independent 3rd party consultants that have expertise or intellectual property that you don't have or it could be as simple as asking a colleague or co-worker for their input and "another set of eyes" on some aspect of your work.

The reward?  Much like medical problems, I've never seen a real business problem or opportunity that gets better by being ignored. So, the payoff for seeking help is a far less painful "treatment" and typically a better overall solution.  In the end, you'll be viewed not as weak or less competent but as a smart, pro-active problem solver who knows how to ensure a "clean bill of health" for your business.