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Personal Development

Why Responsiveness Is Critical

By David Ackert on March, 19 2014

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David Ackert

We are wired to be highly responsive to our clients,stack of paper letters but in our frantic race to meet their expectations, we often fail to treat our other relationships with the same respect. Our colleagues, referral sources, direct reports, and service providers all play a part in our long-term success. To reserve our attention solely for “emergencies" and dismiss the rest of our professional team is nearsighted and speaks poorly of our regard for them.

We tell ourselves that we’re too busy to be bothered with low-priority projects—surely they can appreciate that our clients must come first. Perhaps they do understand the first few times they’re ignored, but after a while, it’s only human to interpret non-responsiveness as, “you don’t matter to me.” When things slow down and we need their help, we may find that, ironically, we have fostered a non-responsive dynamic with our non-clients.

Regardless of our justification, when we choose not to communicate, we weaken our relationships.

I’m not suggesting that we place any less focus on our clients. But it only takes a few seconds to email a quick reply that says, “Thanks for your message. I’m buried in client work right now. If I don’t get back to you right away, it isn’t personal. Feel free to send me another email in a week or two if you haven’t heard from me.” If their priorities must be set aside so we can tend to our own, let’s at least exercise common courtesy, lest our relationships suffer from neglect.

We need not look far for these neglected relationships. Their emails are sitting in our inboxes.


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