I’m going to ramble… to vent… to get this thought out of my head so I can move forward without it nagging at me.

I want to open a conversation about accountability that my colleagues and I have mulled over time and time again. Whenever the topic is brought up, it appears to be a common cause for irritation. Now I want to get it out on paper (or blog about it in any case), and get your input too…

Ever since I can remember, from the time I was a little kid, to now as a grown kid (haha), I’ve felt like I’ve had to wait on at least one other person to get something done in order to complete a task, or move a project forward. For instance, I come from a sports background, and started running track at a young age. I use to anchor relays for my team, and I had to wait for the baton to get all the way around the track in order for me to do my part and finish the race. But there were times when the baton never got to me. Our team got disqualified either for dropping the baton or running out of the zone or out of our lane.

I work with a team now too, and I know from time to time I’m also that person that someone is waiting on. Afterall, no one is perfect. But lately I’ve been wondering what it would be like if we all moved at the same pace, towards the same goal… Wouldn’t we see a lot more success?

In the world of business, we all know it’s about the relationships that we foster. In order to be successful, you need someone to pull their weight… to do the things they say they are going to do. However, far too often we find ourselves in the same predicament: Someone doesn’t respond to an email after multiple attempts, or they don’t respond to a phone call or text.

When this happens, you feel out of sight and out of mind. If they would simply answer the phone or respond to your email, you could move forward faster, and make progress on your goal, instead of feeling stuck in no man’s land.

Here’s an example… Maybe you’ve been in these shoes. Say that you’ve emailed a potential customer or client five or six times in the last two weeks. Then, after the seventh email they finally respond back that they would be happy to meet with you… or complete the form you asked them to fill out… or whatever other item that you asked them about two weeks ago. There, wasn’t that easy? To simply answer the email to tell you they would take action after so many attempts? But, instead you’ve been waiting for two weeks to complete this task and move the relationship forward. Imagine if this person had responded after the first email, one or two days after you initially talked. Look at all the time and effort that you would have saved! It’s probably hard to imagine how much more you could have gotten done because it rarely happens this way.

When I get stuck in no man’s land, I have to remind myself that it’s just the nature of people. I understand that life gets busy, but I also believe it’s common courtesy to respond back to someone who is trying to communicate with you. How many times have you failed to respond to a new connection? Or waited weeks before getting back to someone? If the shoe was on the other foot, how would that make you feel? Especially if you’re trying to close a deal?

In my line of business, we work and move forward people to people. We foster relationships, and in turn, receive additional introductions. People tell us all the time that they aren’t the ones who can help us, but they know the people who can, and will introduce us. But then the introduction doesn’t happen for weeks or months. There you are left waiting… ready for action, but stuck. It’s easy to become frustrated when you know that if the introduction would have been made when the person originally told you, you would be so much further down the road toward success.

Additionally, in order for this process to move faster, the relationship needs to be a win-win for all parties involved… I think this might be the culprit that holds up all responses or follow-ups. Too many times people feel like they’re being used, or simply that they’re not the ones to gain from the relationship. Rarely is this the case. There is almost always something to be gained from a new relationship, even if it’s just to spread your good name, or connect two people who could benefit each other.

If we all worked at the same pace… answering emails right away, returning phone calls right away, and generally responding in a timely manner… there would be so much more success in the world of business! But with all the delays, more often than not, it feels like you’re dragging people down the road to success.

So I guess what I’m getting at here is let’s all make an effort…

What if we respected each other’s time and attention? What if we entered into every relationship believing it could be a win-win for everyone involved? What if we made an honest effort to respond back to people within a couple days? I’m not saying we have to all sprint to the finish line, but let’s work together and move forward at a respectable pace so we can all find more success.

Are you in?