March 15, 2014 (Washington, D.C.)

            How many of you are frustrated by low or total lack of responsiveness from almost any type of communications: VM, text, email, In Mail, etc? I ask this question because of the needs that a “new employee” has as noted in my March 8th blog.

When I am working with clients one question I ask often, “How many of you regularly experience talking with someone on the phone who you can tell is not really engaged in the conversation?” Wow, nearly everyone’s hand goes up. Getting a response of value must certainly start with being totally engaged the message sent. I am sure there are very “agile listeners” out there that can manage two simultaneous conversations, maybe. To check this reality, I ask another question, “As you observe people walking along talking on their phone, or as you walk along talking on your phone, what happens when you get to a truly serious part of the conversation?” They all say the same thing: they stop walking. Maybe the dual tasking skills have some serious limitations. From the anecdotal response I get, one could surmise that the conversation on the phone is not super important, since they are still walking. For a new employee this might prove to be fatal. They might get a “half baked” response or even a wrong response to the question asked since the other person is not totally there. Not good.

Another angle I take on “responsiveness” is from this question, “Do you experience some people who will not respond to your first email unless you follow up with a phone call or send a second email. For a new person this can also cause serious problems: “did I send the message to the wrong person?” “Should I bother that person or my boss to find out the right action to do?” Time gets wasted, the new person can become frustrated, or errors can happen.

In short, lack of or poor responsiveness can cause a new employee to move “sideways” in their growth and development rather than forward. This is not good for anyone nor for the organization.

Check yourself: am I engaged and responsive when people reach out to me? Am I part of the communications problem or part of the solution?


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