If you are one of those ‘always on time’ kind of people, you will enjoy this post. If you are the one this post is about – the always late one – read on! You will enjoy it, too!
Let’s wait a few more minutes … probably stuck in traffic. Or maybe the kids had a last-minute blow-up? Or maybe the alarm didn’t go off. Or maybe he ran out of gas on the way here? Or maybe she got sick? We’ll give it a few more minutes and then we will officially start. Sound familiar?
Then, 10 or so minutes later they come in and just say ‘Hi guys’ … plop down leisurely, opening their laptops and silencing their phones – not to mention distracting everyone. Now we can start.
Culture killer. No, not the fact that the late comers are late, but that the early comers get punished for being on time.
If you’re the one organizing the meeting, you know the problem. If you start your presentation on time, you’ll have to repeat it all over again once the group is complete. So you wait.
If you’re the one who’s always on time, you can’t help but eventually conclude that punctuality is useless in this organization, which causes your personality type added frustration and dissatisfaction.
Well … and if you’re the one who’s always late, you are not really aware of any issues, since they all wait for you before they ‘officially’ start, anyway. As a matter of fact, you feel like you don’t need the ‘intro fluff’ anyway, so all’s great!
What to do?
90% of solving a problem is realizing there is one. Dave Ramsey
Does turning the clock 5 minutes back actually help?
Here’s the thing. Although there are all those reasons why people are late – and you might have noticed that they all have to do with circumstances – truth is, being late is an attitude problem.
Here’s the test.
Think of a person that you’d really like to meet. Maybe the Queen, the President, a famous speaker, coach or player. You have a one hour meeting with that person tomorrow at 11am. It’s a 1 hour drive to get to the meeting place. Here are two important questions:
1. What time do you need to leave to arrive there on time?
2. What time is ‘on time’?
Considering that you don’t know what the traffic will be like, I am willing to bet that you’ll be out the door, dressed to the nines, gas tank filled to the rim, early enough to be there at least a half hour earlier, ready with anticipation, on your best behaviour and with a million bucks kind of attitude.
And there was your answer!
We truly honour and respect anything or anybody we consider – truly valuable. To dishonour something or somebody means to treat as common. The example above is exaggerated obviously, but clearly drives home the point. When it all boils down, your actions show where your values are.
If you are the one organizing the meeting, know that the most important people are already in the room. Those are the ones who have shown honour and respect toward you and your leadership and clearly deserve no less in return. Start on time. There is no more elegantly clearer statement than to have your late-comers walk into the room, having a strong sense of having missed something seriously important. I’d be surprised if that happened twice in a row.
If you are the one always on time, good on you! Keep being on time. In the meantime, you might be bumping your head against the leadership lid of your organization. You are either learning a lesson or have some decisions to make.
And if you are the one always late, start taking your responsibilities seriously. Treat it like an appointment with the Queen. You know exactly what you need to do to be there on time.
People don’t need any more information. They need help to implement what they already know.
Awareness is a good start!