I was speaking at a business association and the issue of time management came up. I asked this question: “How late is it OK to be for a business appointment?
The answers ranged from 10 minutes early through to a staggering 30 minutes after the appointment time. I asked the 30 minute person (who was in his late 20’s) to clarify and sure enough he thought arriving anything up to 30 minutes after the time was acceptable. The majority of the audience was aghast.One person who I estimate was in his 50’s spoke up and said “If you are not there ready to meet at the appointed time, you would not get in to see me. I would cancel the appointment and would not re-schedule”. Harsh? Probably, but it was his office so he could call the shots and he did.Surprisingly, 2 other people spoke up and said they adopted the same practice. Wow! did that generate some discussion.Story 2.
I was consulting on meetings with a very large firm in their Sydney & Melbourne offices. They had a meeting of the 12 senior partners every Monday morning at 8.00am. Everyone was expected to attend no matter where they were in the world unless they were on leave.They had a digital clock outside the board room and at 8.00am the door was locked. No-one was allowed in. Every person’s mobile phone was given to an assistant outside the room and they monitored any calls and they were only allowed into the room if a call was a genuine and extreme emergency.
I tell these stories only to highlight that there are lots of people and organisations who expect punctuality and have a zero tolerance for latecomers. Are you, or is your manager one of them?
There’s an old saying – I know Sir Charles Court used to use it – early is on time, on time is late, late is unacceptable.
What do you think?