Quick response time: a saving grace or secret pitfall?

Gone are the days of sending letters to companies and having the time to think of responses, question outcomes and find best options. Instead with the birth of mobile phones, email and zoom calls almost all decision making has been transformed to instantaneous. Perhaps this is actually hindering our performance and limiting capabilities.

Time to think and ponder the best possible responses to situations is an under rated concept in the fast-paced modern world. How often are we left feeling annoyed for someone’s slow response and we realise it has been less than eight hours since an email was sent? Now more than ever, people are expected to reply within the day on pressing issues and this could mean that we are continually choosing options and solutions which are the most obvious and possibly limited in their value.

We are taking efficiency as a sign of being good at our jobs but are then often left disappointed when people are making quick, yet the wrong, decisions. Do we need to be empowering our workforce to slow down, and teach consideration in order to get the best outcomes within out companies?

Fifty years ago, all business to business communications had to go through the mail, whilst this was not entirely efficient by modern standards, it created opportunity for time to be taken between an initial idea and implementation. This time of thought should not be underestimated for its value. Problems arise with hast, and we are moving in an ever-faster direction. Do we give ourselves the opportunity to question the best practise, to evaluate how to achieve the outcomes we are hoping for or are we instead simply focussed on getting the job done quickly? Often if we are trying to convey messages in hast our narrative is less effective and less empathetic, so we take the risk of moving in a counterproductive direction.

This increased response time is not just expected within our companies yet we are also seeing a direct correlation between quick response times to consumers and revenue. This is a more difficult concept, with everything so instantaneous we now feel it acceptable that as consumers we are deserving of instant replies. Whilst this is more challenging to face, one would hope that through more workers taking the time and a shift in expected response times there could be a cultural “slowing”. Perhaps what is so important to shift is this thought that quicker is better?

It is non-arguable that the integration of these technologies has been paramount in increasing revenue, productivity and the sheer volume of things we are able to get done in the work day. Now we are able to achieve so much more. The benefit of technology must be integrated with allowing time for questions and thought. There is limited benefit in making quick decisions if they end up being the wrong decision. Perhaps what is needed is setting aside time to allow us to truly think through options in order to know we are coming up with the best decision. Technology is great for allowing more people to weigh in so it’s important we are implementing the time to allow this to be a consideration, sharing the load of decision making and allowing time to sit with larger decisions.

Written by Lexie Cook, EP Business in Hospitality