In a recent team development workshop, a client asked about the habit of responsiveness and whether we had seen a trend of the responsiveness habit increasing due to the demands of today’s society and business pace. It was a great question and we have some data on responsiveness for teams and individuals, but I had never thought to link the two until now …
Responsiveness, as Shadowmatch defines it, is the behavior of acting immediately and directly when a task or situation presents itself. People with strong responsiveness habits will always want to take action, sometimes regardless of the priority. Absent of the habit, people will prefer to prioritize and postpone what they deem to be not immediately critical.
I can see where our client was coming from. I hardly know any organization or role today that doesn’t require us to be immediate, on-line and ready to respond. Our business is global, our smart phones are always buzzing (and always on), and our expectations are that you should never put off until tomorrow what could be done today … right now … actually immediately.
Just a handful of decades ago, the speed of business was limited by rail speed, ocean crossings, and pony express; now technology has infinitely surpassed people as the limiting factor, and we ourselves have become the bottleneck.
So, have we seen the trend? Well since we weren’t around during the stagecoach days I’ll be hard pressed to pull out a nice graph with the specific data on the Dalton Gang, but what we did was to go back and look at a sample of 30 team workshops from those we have facilitated over the last couple of years.
As you can see, the average habit of responsiveness “scores” above 55 in terms of intensity, which puts it into the range of “Strong Habit” for a team. Remember, this is an average of the teams’ scores so individuals scored lower and higher than this. Also, compare it to the average of all the other habits combined: at almost 12 points higher, responsiveness is considerably more intense than other habits. The teams in the sample range in terms of “performance” – some came to us as “working well,” others were more problematic.
Trend? We can’t tell over time, but the habit is clearly fully embedded as of today.
So, I would hesitate to post this as definitive proof given the sample size, but it’s definitely a theory that I think shows some potential. What does it mean for your organization? Well, I would say that you should be looking at the overall responsiveness of your team compared to the demands of your environment (but I can’t imagine any manager saying that their team easily outpaces their business requirements these days).
If you would like a quick pulse on your specific team, let us know and we’ll be happy to do a quick diagnostic for you. Who knows, perhaps your team is closest to keeping pace with technology!
Adrian Wood is the Vice President at Shadowmatch USA, partnering with companies to build better teams through powerful behavior-based team development, employee development and recruiting and talent deployment solutions. Wood has advised major clients including Bimbo Bakeries, Cisco, Citrix, Mom Corps, Sprint and many others that excellence in the workplace is about behaviors, not personality. Follow him @aw_shadowmatch or Shadowmatch USA @ShadowmatchUSA on Twitter; like his company on Facebook; subscribe to their blog; or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.