In emergency situations, the brave men and woman who race to the scene save lives. They respond with burning urgency, doing everything possible to get to the job fast. Realizing that every second counts, they employ systems, processes, and training regimens to reach their duties with no delays or distractions.
Don't you wish your cable guy cared as much about responsiveness? Or your doctor, mortgage banker, parts supplier, and colleague down the hall?
As companies invest millions in new tech and fancy slogans to seek out an inch of competitive advantage, they could learn a potent lesson from those in uniform. Simply put, the fastness with which you respond can be one of the most powerful competitive advantages at your disposal.
If you're looking to hire a window-washing company and make three inquiries, the firm who responds first generally wins. If your realtor takes four days to respond, you're likely to find a new one. Responsiveness is more important than ever in our mobile-app, touch-a-button, instant-gratification world. When we have a need as a business or consumer, the expectation is that a provider will be on-demand with the same speed as a Google search. Fall short, and you'll likely lose competitive ground.
The same is true with your career. If you respond with burning urgency to bosses, customers, team members, and suppliers, your work will be noticed and you'll rise quickly in the ranks. On the other hand, slow on the trigger means slow to win that next promotion. Furthermore, teams that respond quickly to one another accomplish more. A project that takes 14 interactions gets done in one day if response time is 11 minutes, but takes a month if each response takes two days. Also keep in mind that if you respond in a leisurely pace, you're actually stalling the progress of others. Don't be the sloth that holds your team or organization back.
The difference between winning and losing that big new account, the juicy promotion, or the limited supply collectable all boils down to the speed with which you respond. If you want to up your game and win more often, try accelerating your response times.
Thankfully, firefighters avoid dilly-dallying and understand the importance of response times when answering the call of duty to extinguish a three-alarm blaze. Let's embrace the same urgency to achieve more. And just like the Fire Chief, you'll be ringing the shiny red bell of success.
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