Responding to Others

I welcome all of you to Xactly,” said Donald Gibson, the founder of Xactly.  “As you may have heard, I’ll be meeting with you every Monday morning for 15 minutes for your first year with us.  I will be sharing a personal story as a way of helping you understand the culture we are trying to create here at Xactly.  I have found that stories are far better at conveying concepts than policy statements or instructional manuals.  The story I’ll begin with is very painful to me, and I doubt that I’ll be able to get through the story without choking up.”

“The story concerns an especially hectic day as we were getting ready to launch a new product.  My daughter had tried to reach me several times by phone, but I left instructions with my assistant that she was not to interrupt me.  I had left my cell phone in my office, as I was working in the lab.  My daughter also emailed me several times, but I never saw her messages.  Later that day, my daughter committed suicide,” Gibson said in a voice that was barely audible.  “I believe I could have stopped my daughter from taking her own life, but I never responded to her cries for help.  While I was trying to create a company culture where everyone helps each other, I betrayed my own daughter.  I cannot bring her back to life, but I can honor her memory by reinforcing with each of you how critical it is to respond to others.  Here’s what I want you to do.”  Gibson went on to explain the communications criteria at Xactly.

Timely responses to others’ communications should be an expectation in our society. Yet, a lack of response seems to have become the new normal.  When we don’t send a response to a communication, we are sending a message to the sender basically saying we don’t consider them worthy of a response.

Why is the lack of response so common?  Some would say they don’t have time, but those who receive the most communications are often the best responders.  Others would argue that responses to every communication aren’t needed, but that’s imposing your values over those of the sender of the communication.

The simple fact is that those who are casual about responding to others are often casual about other things that are important.  They simply lack discipline in communications as well as many other things.

Our communications technology has improved faster than perhaps any other technology, but our personal responsiveness to others seems to not have kept pace with our technology.  Why do you think this is?  Could a lack of responsiveness to others evolve into this generation’s caste system?  Isn’t it amazing that we feel a need to thank those who respond to us?

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“Speed, agility, and responsiveness are the keys to future success.”  – Brad Montague (Author and creator of the web series:  Kid President)

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