WOW Word-Of-the-Week #356: Access

May 31, 2011 by  

Access – being available when needed.

Are you available when your colleagues or staff need you? Do you work for someone that is never around when you need them? Do you feel supported and connected at work?

I received lots of positive feedback on my WOW that featured an excerpt from my husband Chris’ book so I am going to share more over the next several weeks on his chapter featuring, “The Six Guidelines I Ask Of My Direct Reports.

Guideline #1 – Access to Me

If he works for us, you work for him.” – Japanese Proverb

“You have access to me for any reason, no matter where I might be or what I’m doing. There is a concept described as “Presenteeism,” simply, it means being there, being present. Availability is the key for us all to feel connected. This is not to say that there is a lack of trust or a need to ask permission but rather it recognizes an importance to feel secure and have support available should it be needed.”

“Even though it’s rarely necessary, it’s always there. Sometimes another opinion is helpful or there is a need for a sounding board. Access includes e-mail, 24/7 phone contact or just walking into my office. The BlackBerry (in my opinion) was the most productive innovation for business since the personal computer.”

“This level of unencumbered access is enhanced when your office door is always open. Keep it open for the purpose of having people walk in uninvited. You’ll be sending a very positive message to all your colleagues; ‘I’m here for you!‘”

“This guideline is all about connectivity.  Connectivity allows for free flow of communication and access to one another. That’s how we leverage ourselves and accomplish our goals and work as a team. Communications flow freely when you have the correct data and are able to easily share that information with your colleagues. Each team member, and that includes me, must be available and responsive to one another. If not, break downs occur and high performance simply doesn’t happen. We are not a team unless we are willing to be accountable and accessible to one another. People want to be heard, have a voice in decision-making and they want to be trusted. Without access those needs aren’t met.”

This week’s focus is on access. Do you work for someone whose door always seems to be closed? Or are they never around or always seem to be busy on other things? Are you guilty of having a full voice mail box or responding very late to e-mail messages? Do you have access and feel connected all the time?

Reader Responses

“I am sorry for not having responded to this WOW! I became involved in a project that will take up much of my work time for the next two months. As a result, I have not been there for you. You have not been able to ACCESS me via email. How is that for an apropos response to this column? One of the best things about working in my office is that I have access and open communication with many of my coworkers. We sit close to each other, and if any of us needs anything at all, especially work-related, we can get what we need. It is a great feeling, especially since this is the best group of coworkers I have ever worked with in an office atmosphere. So, I feel grateful to have that kind of access. However, I would not want to be put in a position where anyone from the office could access me via email, pager, twitter, facebook, my space, my page or telephone. All of those devices would be like a leash around my neck and I would never be able to leave work AT WORK. I know too many people, including in my own family, who are constantly in demand and accessible. It takes up whatever free time they have outside of work. That is not worth it. Fortunately, I have a position where I only need to be available to my coworkers Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. Now, if I am needed longer than that, I will work until 7 or 8 p.m. if necessary, so that my coworkers can get what they need. That is a great word, Susan. Thanks for the reminder. Have a wonderful weekend. I am off to see The Moody Blues tomorrow night at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL. It will be my fifth time seeing the band. The Moodys are great.” – “Warrior” Joe


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