The 3 R’s: Finding a “Responsive Reliable Resource”
There are plenty of qualities we look for in people we want to work with. A few weeks ago I had an interaction that made me realize that there are 3 I find to be near the top of my list.
I was working on a project and needed some feedback from a potential partner, “Tom”, who hadn’t responded to my email request for almost a week.
So I emailed Tom’s colleague, “Nicky”, asking if the email address I had for Tom was current.
I got a reply within an hour, with a new email address for Tom, plus an explanation as to why Tom wasn’t checking that old email address very often anymore.
I replied to Nicky with a “thank you”, noting that I appreciated her being a “Responsive Reliable Resource”.
Hmmm, I thought, this could be a blog post!
Three Distinct Qualities
The three qualities all begin with the letter “R”, and there are also definitely some overlaps.
But today, I want to look at each of them separately, because there are aspects of each that are important enough to emphasize individually.
Let’s start with “responsive”. This one has everything to do with timeliness in getting back to you.
In today’s world, things move more quickly than ever, so a timely reply when you need something can be extra important.
Sometimes even after just a few hours, the usefulness of whatever you were asking for has disappeared.
In my example above, I’d already been in limbo for a few days, so a quick reply was what I was hoping for, and what I got.
Reliability is a kind of “catch-all” word, often encompassing the responsiveness mentioned above.
But I want to talk strictly about the quality of what people can deliver, without attaching the timeliness of it.
Not that the time element isn’t important, but because it is, it deserves to be looked at separately.
When I think about reliable people, I’m usually assessing them based on whether or not I can count on them.
Count on them for What?
So let’s think about what it is that we’re counting on people for, besides, of course, responding in a timely fashion.
Well, first off, I want to believe that whatever I ask of them, they’ll tell me the truth, even if it hurts.
That works both ways, by the way. I want to be able to rely on someone to tell me the truth,
even if it hurts me, AND, even if it hurts them.
As I write these words, I’m realizing that there’s a whole other blog that I’ll need to write, to expound upon this question.
The third of my 3 R’s is “resource”. Here’s a quick definition I just Googled:
a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively
I’ve gotta admit I don’t love it, because the main thing that most people I deal with are looking for in resources, would have to fall under “other assets”.
I love the part about “that can be drawn on”, because that fits nicely. I’m usually looking for information and/or direction, often to other resources.
A “Resource” as distinct from a “Helper”
While doing some of my personal work with coaches over the years, I’ve begun to try to remove the word “help” from my vocabulary.
This arose once when working with Amie, my Bowen Family Systems Theory coach, when I mentioned wanting to “help my wife” with something.
Her reply was simple, “What if you were just a resource to her, instead of trying to help her?”
“A-Ha”, I thought.
What’s the Difference?
I hope some readers will get this instinctively and quickly, but I assume many won’t, so here’s my view on the difference.
A resource is there for you, to be drawn upon, if and when you need it.
A helper is there to help, but it often turns out that the help they’re bringing isn’t the help needed, and comes on their terms.
It also puts the helper in a “one up” position to the “helpee”, which has its own negative consequences.
We all need “Responsive Reliable Resources”.
And in a family business, it’s great to have at least one who isn’t related.