Our behavior communicates what is important to us

I was really looking forward to observing Matt, who is a dynamic, entertaining speaker. His assistant informed me a few months ago of his presentations this month so I could see his progress on the few things we have been working on. Since he is scheduled to speak today and I still had not heard the details of when and where, last Thursday I requested this information, hoping everything could work out in my schedule.

“Sure, Merri, I will get back to you this afternoon,” said his assistant.

In the back of my mind crept up a past ocassion when she said those exact same words but the return call never came. I didn’t want to think this was a pattern. Unfortunately it turned out that way – I still had no more information by day’s end. I gave the assistant the ball. What did she do with it?

Not until this morning, after I telephoned one more time, did I learn the details. And of course, the time of Matt’s presentation conflicted with my schedule. The assistant had dropped the ball, which means I lost the chance to observe. And Matt lost valuable feedback.

This didn’t have to be this way. Had I known the details soon enough, I could have reworked my schedule to accomodate Matt and others in my day. But no, this last-minute, unresponsive communication is a problem. It was a problem to me, and to make this work I would be making it a problem for others.

Here we have someone who wants presentation coaching (eventhough he is already a talented speaker), appreciates seeing me in his audiences, but doesn’t always get the service because of the communication hiccups in the office. What a shame.

Am I the only one who has issues with this office’s communication? I doubt it. The pattern displayed with me is no doubt the same pattern observed by others. Have the appropriate people been told the impact their behavior has on their vendors? I wonder to what degree this behavior is also seen by their clients.

Some people have a “three strikes and you’re out” rule. Well, if I use this rule, I would be facing the “batter” offering only one more strike. Not that I want to strike this client out. I don’t. I want them to break down their barriers, to advance to the next base. This situation requires a direct conversation on my end, out of concern for their effectiveness.

Responsiveness is a key attribute that people around us rely on. Whether our loved ones, our clients, our key players in-house or other elements of our network, our responsiveness with them demonstrates how we operate. Although we are busy, our busy-ness is not more important than the busy-ness of others who serve us.

When we drop the ball in our daily actions towards others, we display our humanity. But when we drop it repeatedly, we communicate lack of connection. Those observing this may take offense, reading this as disregard. They may drop us from their priorities, thinking we are a waste of their time. Only some of them who see our behavior pattern more than once will be thoughtful enough to communicate concern and desire to help.

Today’s circumstance has reminded me of my own responsiveness to people expecting to hear from me. It encourages me to account to others and to generate systems of responsiveness that is effective. It demonstrates the need for me to seek expectations of others and line them up with my own.

I want to continue to observe and assist Matt, and because he is the one requesting the assistance, I believe he wants this, too. Therefore it behooves me to offer feedback on what I experienced. It is up to Matt and his office team to create the behavior patterns that allow responsiveness. Otherwise, it appears as though my working with him really isn’t important to him.

Is time important to you? Pick up the ball.

Time is important for all of us. Including those you work with and who work with you. Communicate your wish to respond to others. Create a system of follow-through and follow-up that proves it. Your responsiveness communicates what is important to you. Pick up the ball.

Want help with this? Let me know.



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On October 2nd, 2012, posted in: accountability, Breaking down barriers, connection, responsible by