Demonstrate Urgency in Response Time & Follow Up | Fundamental #22

Bottom line: it’s about respect.

Shortly after being promoted to my first executive-level position in a very large company, I called my first meeting where I needed the president of the company in attendance. I was held up and arrived at the meeting five minutes late, for reasons I felt were compellingly urgent at the time.

The meeting went well, but the president asked me to stay after everyone else had left and asked me, “…so, you don’t respect anyone in the room?”. Shaking in my boots, I stammered, “I do, I do”!

His point was that being late sent a message to everyone that I had no respect for their time and priorities; that mine were more important. 

I’ve never forgotten that conversation and work very hard at being on time. Lesson learned!

The lesson, however, applies to so much more than tardiness. When you commit to doing something or being somewhere, you hold yourself accountable for doing it accurately and in the time promised. 

Completion of a promised action offers implied respect for the time, priorities and – in some cases – authority of the other individuals involved.

Clearly, unforeseen challenges may threaten the substance and/or timing of completion. In that case, your communication and follow-up ensures that everyone is aware of the changes and that carries with it your respect for them.

Mutual respect certainly increases the quality of your interpersonal  and team relationships, but did you know it can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line?

When employees at all levels feel respected, they engage at a much higher level. They are willing to share their ideas, call out problems and inefficiencies and go the extra mile to help make the company successful.

Have you seen examples of this at yours?

As Aretha says, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”!

Respectfully yours,


Fundamental #22 | Demonstrate urgency in response time & follow up

Model enthusiasm in your response to issues and rigor in your follow up.  Make sure your work is accurate, complete, and timely.  Keep people updated, and make sure they are clear about your communication(s).

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