At Willmar Electric, our brand promises are to be on-time, organized, and approachable.  The most difficult to define of the three elements is approachable.  The dictionary definition for approachable is “friendly and easy to talk to.”

When I asked my coworkers to describe what approachable is, for example, I got several responses.  Sharing some of the examples helps to define approachable.

Justin Erickson said when he has an accounting question, he goes to Erin Wilson because she is willing to listen and provides answers.

Paul Latimer shared two examples.  Nick Blaser’s expertise makes him easy to approach, and Kyle Kemnitz’s coworkers mentioned it was an excellent experience to work side by side with him.

Misty Lauer points out how Wesley Griffee is polite, and it adds to his approachability.  She pointed out how Lee Freudenburg model’s approachability through a willingness to solve problems.

They are excellent examples and help to define approachability.  I have a dozen more about people who listen, want to help solve problems, find root causes, and show respect for others.  But I want to take it another step.

Approachability is a two-way street, and over the years, Bev Dresser has lived out the importance of accountability every time I see her.  Bev is excellent at asking questions and giving feedback.  When she is in a meeting, she is excellent at speaking up and asking questions.

A big part of our approachability is encouraging people to speak up.  We think you should speak up because it holds others accountable. When somebody asks a question, it allows confusion to be cleared up.

On several occasions, after I say something or outline a new idea or policy, Bev will speak up.  By doing so, she helps everybody in the room gain clarity.  She also models it is safe to speak up.  At Willmar Electric, we want to provide and convey a culture where people are free to say something immediately and not wait until later.  Worse than waiting until later to speak up is asking somebody else.  At Willmar Electric, you are encouraged to say something to the original source because we encourage approachability.

Bev’s questions show she is listening.  Listening and wanting to solve problems seem to be the common threads in being approachable.

Approachability is what makes the people listed above and all of my coworkers fun to work alongside.