I encountered the term “Response-able” in a book written by Mark Batterson called Play The Man.
Don’t confuse the concept with being responsible. Being “Response-Able acknowledges the reality that humans get to choose how they respond to every situation they encounter. Everyone. We don’t control circumstances. We do control our response.
Author Viktor Frankl described being response-able in his book “A Man’s Search for Meaning” (a classic I highly recommend). In the book, Frankl said that the way he survived confinement in a German concentration camp in World War II was to choose how he responded to the circumstances of imprisonment. He said they could strip him of everything but his ability to choose his response.
So, being “response-able” is choosing to make the most of every situation we encounter.
In our business, try as we might, there is always something out of sync. We use the 3M’s: Markets, Materials, and Manpower.
Our markets are the state of demand for our products and competition.
Our materials are the availability and cost of the stuff we use to build our products.
Our manpower is the state and competence on our team.
In my experience, they are never aligned. There are tensions in each category and, to succeed, we manage them. We respond. We take charge. The circumstances are what they are. We get to choose our response.
George Bernard Shaw puts it this way: “The people who get on in this world are people who look for circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, make them.”
Making your circumstances is a response we create. That’s happening to the world.