The Thursday before Halloween, an unusual October storm hit our town in Western Massachusetts.
We got about 3 inches of snow.
When a storm like this comes through, it’s pretty clear that Mother Nature has a reason that snow generally comes after the leaves fall off of the trees. The weight of the snow bends, splits and shears tree branches like Popsicle sticks.
Our dogwood tree in the front yard had one large branch that split and dropped down onto the power lines. Another two smaller branches bent awkwardly to where they were precariously perched over the driveway.
This was not good.
At 8:30 in the morning, I called Craig.Craig’s daughter is in the same grade as my daughter. I know Craig from the playground and school events. Craig also runs a small business called TreeCycle. We’ve used his company for some tree work in my backyard.
When I dialed Craig’s number, I was expecting a voice mail. Instead, Craig picked up.I explained my tree situation.
Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one who had tree issues that day. Craig said, We have some other jobs to get to, but your house in on the way to them, and it sounds small enough we can get it done quick.
At 9:05, Craig’s truck and his team showed up.By 9:30 they were finished with the work.Like many small businesses, Craig usually sends us an invoice to get paid.I asked Craig how much the job would cost.It’ll be $100. I’ll send you an invoice.
Craig had clearly gone above and beyond for me. His quick turnaround and great work was amazing.As Craig had responded to my need so quickly, I was moved to try to reciprocate. I said,Craig, I’ll just write you a check right now.
We live in a fast-paced world- and it keeps getting faster. Everyone seems to have more to get done, and less time to do it.In our age of one-click ordering, people want what they want now–if not sooner. Patience is not a virtue in our internet age. We’ve been primed (pun intended- thank you, Amazon) to expect things instantly. We’ll even be willing to pay pay extra for it.The advantage goes to those who can swiftly meet other’s needs. When you respond quickly to others, you develop your reputation in four essential areas:
Competence is your ability to do something well enough to meet a certain standard. While that’s simple enough, it gets more complicated in business relationships because that standard isn’t set by you-it’s set by the other person.
When you take care of business quickly, you demonstrate you’re a pro- you get stuff done. Keep doing this, and you’ll get to be known as someone who can be counted on.
In a workplace environment where everyone seems to be “doing more with less”, lots of people have too much on their plates. When you meet someone’s need swiftly, it shows you can prioritize, focus and execute. These three skills are all hallmarks of agility.
One thing that makes people so anxious at work are all the open-loops they have to keep track of. When you turn around and meets someone’s need quickly , not only do you accomplish the task, but you give the other person two additional side benefits:
You give them the pleasure of the quick dopamine hit that comes from achieving a goal. (If you want to know what this feels like, try to remember how you feel at the moment when you check off an item on your to-do list.)
You reduce their level of anxiety. That’s one less open loop in their world. One less thing to worry about.
Quickly meeting someone’s need shows that you have concern for them and their situation. It can’t but help engender good feelings. We all want to feel seen and valued. When you respond rapidly, you put deposits in the emotional bank account of the other person. This builds stronger bridges of trust.
What other benefits to do you get from responding rapidly? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.