Responsiveness and Dependability
Responsiveness and dependability are key factors in whom we select to hire and do business with. We have devised a composite scale I have devised to judge the following factors:
- How responsive are they? How quickly can you reach them? How quickly do they return telephone calls?
- How dependable are they? If they say they will do something, would you bet your life on it getting done by the time they committed to? Or would you bet your life on it not getting done on time?
- How quickly do they turn work around?
- Do they manage the relationship, or do you have to manage it?
- Are they pro-active in getting things done, or do you need to remind them?
- Do they take the initiative?
- Do they meet deadlines?
- Is their work flawless and an “end product,” or is it sloppy? Is their work always done right the first time?
- Are they empathetic enough to understand their problems?
- What is the ratio of Actions/Requests? The higher the number, the better. The best is when they take the initiative and do things without your having to ask them. The second best is you simply mention it once, and they follow through completely. With many people, unfortunately, you have to ask several times before they do something, and then they don’t do it right or they take a narrow view.
This is the composite scale :
11 Same as 10, but answers the telephone on the first ring
10 Completely available. Every time you call, he is ready to talk with you; you never have to leave a message. If you say, “I need you to work 3 months full-time on a project, starting today, at my office, he says, “I’ll be there in 30 minutes.” Turns everything around the same day.
9 Always available. Returns telephone calls within 30 minutes. You rarely call him, because he calls you first. He is pro-active in managing the relationship. You don’t prepare a to do list because he has already prepared it. Can drop everything to work on your problem full-time. Turns minor work around the same day. You don’t have to ask him to do anything because he anticipates everything you’ll ask. Totally self-managing.
8 Almost always available. Returns telephone calls within a few hours. Can meet with you whenever you want to. Might have a few other things to do, but you are his top priority. Turns things around the next day. Work is flawless; everything he submits to you is an “end product” rather than a first draft.
7 Available. Returns telephone calls very quickly. Always meets deadlines. Turns things around quickly. Can get on a plane with 12 hours’ notice.
6 Always returns telephone calls quickly. Can get on a plane with 24 hours’ notice. Usually turns things around quickly. You only have to ask him to do something once, and it gets done. Work is very good, but not flawless. You have to prepare the to do list, but he follows it closely.
5 Returns telephone calls quickly, but misses one out of ten of them. Doesn’t anticipate much, but does everything you ask him to do. He is not pro-active in managing the relationship; you have to provide the management. Work is good, but sometimes there are a few mistakes in it.
4 You have to ask twice for him to do something, but then he does it. He never initiates telephone calls. OK on returning telephone calls but not great. Not only do you have to prepare the to do list, but he doesn’t even follow it very well.
3 Slow to return telephone calls. Misses telephone calls. Misses some telephone appointments. You have to ask thrice for him to do things. Not only do you have to manage the relationship, you have to manage him. Work is sloppy; he does not give you an “end product.”
2 Always busy. You spend more time listening to his excuses for why he didn’t do something than you do in getting work done. Always hurried and frazzled. Very later on returning telephone calls. You have to ask him several times to do something, and even then, he doesn’t always do it. Needs to be managed, but it’s very difficult to manage him. His work is useless.
1 Never available. Rarely returns telephone calls. Totally useless. You can never depend on him. Needs to be managed, but it’s impossible to manage him. The highest forms of availability are, in many cases, only possible if the person works in-house in the same office complex as you.
Read James’ essay Some Financial Advice.
Cite as “Responsiveness and Dependability” by James Mitchell. June 29, 2002, version 1.2.