The Responsive Method was pioneered by Aha! and is centered around the belief that interactions with urgency are what propel people and organizations forward.
It is a simple way to have mutually beneficial interactions. It embraces an interrupt-driven approach to communications and getting work done, but bases longer-term investments of resources on aligning requests against pre-set strategic initiatives. It is a framework for people and organizations to get the most out of today’s abundant free-flow of information while staying on track towards a goal.
The Responsive Method has four key characteristics.
This is contrary to conventional wisdom, but I think you and your company should be driven by interruptions. Most people are taught to try to tune out distractions rather than being open to them and I think that is a mistake. I think you should listen carefully to the noise so you can learn to pick out the valuable data. This is true regardless of whether you work in sales, handle customer support requests, respond to candidates, or are an engineer dealing with incoming bug reports. Embrace the interruptions. A request is the only sign you have that someone needs something from you right now.
If you are going to be interrupt-driven and respond to requests in real-time you need a way to assess the presented needs. While most questions are easy to quickly answer, some require meaningful investments of time and energy to satisfy (e.g. a major feature request from an important customer). You need to know whether you are going to invest that effort. And to do so wisely you must establish a “goal first” approach and a true north for where you are headed. A “goal first” approach is about defining your vision. Because If you do not have a vision, it will be difficult to understand what major requests are aligned with your goal and your direction and need your attention longer term.
Yay or nay now
You should respond to requests quickly as they come in. That’s because you can not afford to keep revisiting them. You need to quickly analyze them as they are received and allow your “goal first” strategy to guide you. Most requests can be quickly handled but the goal of a rapid “Yah” or “Nah” should not be at the expense of accuracy. There is no point in being hasty but wrong. It is absolutely ok to acknowledge that the request was received and that you will get back to the person shortly. The key is to digest the information and its importance as quickly as possible so you can get on to the next one and creating more value.
Allow someone to peak inside and understand why you responded the way you did rather than just hearing your response. Explaining the “why” makes the “what” simple to digest. You need to be more than just nice because being nice alone does not help someone see your perspective. This is especially important when saying “No.”