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The Importance of Responsiveness

Creating a Culture of Responders

I don’t know about you, but working with people who are reluctant to respond or completely non-responsive drives me crazy.

With our 24/7 culture and array of communication channels, clients and customers have come to expect a response as soon as possible. We all get numerous emails, texts, phone calls and (occasional) letters daily. In the face of this information overload, it can be tempting to simply not respond.

However, not responding sends a message, whether it is intended or not.  The person who is asking a question or making a request deserves the courtesy of a thoughtful and human reply—not an automated email or radio silence.

Being responsive shows that you put others first and care about their needs. This builds goodwill within your network, strengthens relationships, and cultivates trust.

If you are competing in a crowded market, responsiveness can help you stand out and elevate your brand.   

During my coaching career, I started working with a communication company that was extremely responsive. I was impressed by the extent to which the value of responding was ingrained in every employee at all levels. Even if the response is simply, “I’m not the right person,” and directing the person to the appropriate contact, or providing a timeframe to let the person know when to expect a response.

I met with the company’s head of talent management to learn how it has been so successful in developing and sustaining a culture of responding. 

Here are some of the lessons that were shared:

Responsiveness Defines the Brand

Anyone sending a message or making a request can be a current or potential customer, a future referral, or resource. The value of being responsive protects the company’s brand. Every employee, beginning with the President and CEO, is encouraged to be honest, forthright, and respond to requests. Although items occasionally slip through the cracks, responsiveness is valued throughout the organization. Continuous improvement is the goal.

Responsiveness Promotes Innovation

This particular company is in the innovation business and doesn’t want to miss any new opportunities. Keeping the door open and engaging with people gives the company a better sense of current and unmet needs. Even though not every idea can be pursued, taking time to listen and respond to messages can give rise to unexpected insights and spark creativity.

Responsiveness Starts at the Top

The company’s top-level management makes it a point to model responsive behavior.  Each employee knows it is in their control to be responsive. Onboarding, training, and team meetings are employed to instill a company culture that prioritizes responsiveness and teaches employees how to be responsive.

Ultimately, there are no good reasons for being non-responsive – just bad excuses. Creating a culture of responders takes a concerted effort but the dividends are significant. To learn more about The Propel Consulting Group, contact us now.

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