Our duty to be responsive

In any organisation which relies on the flow of information (i.e. every organisation), there is a requirement for everyone to be responsive.

“But I’m much too busy.”

It is also your duty to ensure you have enough slack in your day, everyday so that you can respond to any and all queries coming your way.

“But if I do that I will be inundated with requests”

Possibly, for a while. If you find that you are, again it is your duty to delegate or automate the issues away. Being busy is not a valid excuse for being non-responsive. The consequences of not answering your colleague’s queries are far reaching.

  • A customer query goes unanswered for too long because someone on the front line is waiting for a Yes/No answer.
  • A project kick off date is missed because a finalised list of who should be involved is not agreed upon.
  • A technical project is brought to a halt while waiting for the deployment of a minor configuration change.
  • A letter goes into the post in error because the request to hold it wasn’t seen.

The thing is, it may not always be evident what is behind a query, a message, an email… It may be of no importance. But it could possibly be crucial to someone moving on with a piece of work. I guess you could build a system around determining the priority of each incoming request… But my suspicion is that it will be much easier to have enough slack in your day to allow you to be responsive.

The cost of not being responsive

The smooth flow of information in all directions is critical to the efficient operation of your organisation.

This is true if you are a one-person-band where you outsources some tasks. If you are a junior member of a team or if you are a CEO. So when a part of your organisation is non-responsive, or just tardy, then information is not flowing. Consequently, your business will suffer in ways that are not plainly visible to you.

The Drag of poor responsiveness hurts everyone trying to do their jobs because everyone is dependent on everyone else in the network. Poor network performance in one place, has ripple effects throughout.