When you are “response able” you are able to choose your response.
No “But I had no other choice.” No arguing for your weakness, no whining or moaning about how it wasn’t your fault or you couldn’t help it or you had a flat tire or the dog ate your homework.
Being responsible means accepting full responsibility for the outcome, not for having made an effort. Effort is nice but it’s not good enough. It’s performance that counts. (Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the darn ship and its cargo into safe harbor.)
Being “response able” means you have full control of that gap between stimulus and response. You have the emotional strength, the mental power, the personal maturity, the discipline to choose your response to any situation, and then the ability to effectively implement that chosen response.
It’s not always easy, this business of choosing your response, of freeing yourself from knee-jerk reactions and preprogrammed responses. But it is incredibly effective and rather impressive. Being “response able” makes you a role model for others and is a tremendous way to be a “360-degree” leader.
Effective ways to increase the gap between stimulus and response:
• Journal your efforts
• Watch your language for waffle words or efforts to lay off responsibility
• Make commitments sparingly, write them down. Give advance notice if you desire to negotiate any modification.
* Remember: Given finite resources, every yes is a no to something else.
* Notice your triggers.
* Become aware of your sub-routines that in the past have run on automatic.
* Bring preprogrammed responses to the fully conscious level.
* Think about ways to reframe your fuses and eliminate your excuses.
* Ask your support team to be your social mirror and to help you increase your self awareness.
How “response able” were you today? How “response able” will you be tomorrow? How “response able” can you be 30 days from now?
This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive, originally posted August 18, 2008.