The Art of Responding Well

 In Communication, Employee Retention, Leadership

By John Gibson

What is E+R=O? 

Have you ever known someone in any area of life that seemed to almost always respond in just the right way or with just the right words no matter what? How do they make you feel? For me, they inspire confidence and, without fail, they make a profound impact on the companies, cultures, and people they touch.

Better than finding one though is being one, and being one takes becoming one. Becoming a master at responding well and even creating a culture of responding well is both highly possible and profitable. So what might help get there?

A constant for everyone in their life and work is that stuff is always happening—bad stuff, good stuff, bull stuff—there are constantly things to deal with. These events come in all sizes and shapes, from outside of us and inside of us, wind storms or windfalls, people progress or people problems, customer complaints, or customer compliments.

All forward movement always starts with awareness, which is enhanced by the equation E+R=O, which helps us as individuals and teams to respond best and succeed most. E stands for Event, R is Response, and O is Outcome. Events, as pointed out above, will continuously be coming at us, and there’s typically little we can do about their arrival. Still, it’s always the quality of the response that will bring about the ensuing outcome. Great responses bring about excellent outcomes, and inadequate responses bring about poor results.

This powerful little equation is simple but powerful, and there are four levels of using it in getting the most out of it:

Level 1 is primarily trying to control your response going from reflex to reduction in the moment, to avoid or reduce the chances of a costly outcome.

Level 2 is train yourself or your team ahead of time to anticipate pleasant and unpleasant events in advance and be able to choose a response that will not only avoid harsh outcomes but give the highest chance possible for a good result.

Level 3 is become skillful in using events for the best possible outcomes. This includes learning to ask the best questions to ourselves and in our teams to see the very best way forward.

Level 4 is take ownership of the events that come your way, and that changes everything about your responses. Even when the circumstances are not your fault, you can completely own the situation and, therefore, the resulting outcomes. Don’t needlessly focus on why the event happened. Focus, instead, on your next best action, given your current circumstances. You are then freed from defending, complaining, and blaming and free to perform at your very best. This creates an unstoppable culture in yourself and your teams.

Part two of this will delve more into the science of each of these levels. Still, hopefully, this has created some new thinking for you in this area as to how you can consistently go to another level in your responses and outcomes and, when implemented correctly, will do just that.

Drive Leadership Group specializes in helping companies transform their culture, which then transforms their results into profit.

Recent Posts