By Joseph J. Marigomen

“Objection, Your Honor, unresponsive!” 

This is the appropriate courtroom speak used when a witness fails to address the question directed to him. I spent the first seventeen years of my lawyering life in the courtrooms, only to realize that much more wisdom and experience are yet to be acquired, and that the words unresponsive and responsiveness do not actually appear in the rules of evidence or courtroom procedure. Knowledge is not acquired in law school. Rather, it is learned through actual litigation experience; its usefulness becomes more valuable once the budding litigator starts to get the hang of it, so to speak.  

In the following years of service to my clients, I gradually developed the sense that responsiveness, outside the courtroom, actually means being versatile, agile, fast and, most of all, relevant. Responsiveness meant that the client or customer’s needs come first– the response required has the power of arming the client with knowledge and the ability to solve problems.  

It helps to be agile and versatile with one’s responses. The customer needs information and assistance and that need must be fulfilled using all knowledge and resources available. More often than not, the customer needs to be given options in order to make decisions. Responsiveness is the quality that fulfills our basic human need to be recognized, appreciated and empowered – in a very real sense, then, knowledge is power.  

Perhaps, the most important quality of responsiveness is being fast: there is very little value to  one’s response unless it is given in a timely manner according to the customer’s expectations. There is a very real relationship between the speed of the response and its usefulness, the customer appreciates not just a relevant reply, but a fast reply. Think of it as food, it is only useful if it is fresh and served promptly.  

Responsiveness then is the added value we create and contribute to the overall effort of achieving company objectives and attaining our service levels, in essence it is what our jobs are all about.  

So, unless you would like to be objected to, be responsive.  

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