Don’t Let the Incompetent Keep You Waiting

I don’t like it when people keep me waiting.

I reply to all emails within 24 hours. I pay my bills within two weeks, often within days. Last week, when one of my team members needed credit card information that I didn’t have with me, I did my best to send it within an hour. Web orders for my book? I validate shipping addresses within hours, and we send people’s orders within 48 hours. Invoices? I usually send them twice per month, or earlier when people ask for them.

It’s probably safe to assume that, compared with many other people, I get quite a large number of requests, invitations, inquiries, and questions per day. I don’t mind. It’s the nature of my job. If I am able to service everyone quickly, I see no good reason why other people can’t. Seth Godin, one of the most popular authors in the world, replies to his emails within an hour.

I don’t like it when people keep me waiting. It gives me the feeling they don’t respect my time. I respect their time. Why not reciprocate the courtesy?

It took one of my customers seven months to pay my invoice. Needless to say, they’re not my customer anymore now. It took one of my business partners five weeks, and several reminders, to give me a simple piece of information. I may not be partnering with them anymore in the future. My Internet provider still has not responded to a question I asked more than a week ago. Now, I’m happy to be moving my websites elsewhere.

Really, life is too short to allow your business contacts to keep you waiting. Yes, this applies to suppliers and customers. There are 7 billion people in the world, many of whom have great communication skills. Find them. Get rid of the ones who are incompetent, disrespectful, or unmotivated. Who don’t know how to run a business and how to nurture good relationships. It is said that your performance is a reflection of the people you are surrounded with. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by the incompetent. Yes, help them to perform better. But if they don’t improve, sever the connection and move on. It may hurt a bit now, but your future self will thank you for it.

Don’t let the incompetent, the disrespectful or the unmotivated keep you waiting. Because they turn you into someone who is incompetent, disrespectful and unmotivated. When you aim to be successful, you must have a more holistic view of performance. Improve your entire network; don’t muddle along with individual connections.

I hope I didn’t waste your time.

photo: (c) 2015 Omer Unlu, Creative Commons


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  • Guilherme Motta

    I totally agree.. but while reading it, it crossed my mind people that not everyone might be on the same position..

    What about when you are a consultant and customer staff keep you waiting? (trying not to use the word incompetent)

    The question above, in itself, is not really relevant but my point is that given a specific context you might be bound to certain people, companies or providers.

  • Prashant

    I would like to start it right now, from myself

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