Jill, a co-worker and I were waiting in a conference room for someone to arrive.  I  can’t remember how late the person was but I remember the conversation that occurred.  Jill highlighted how much she disliked when someone was late.  I responded saying “That it doesn’t bother me”.  Then she expressed the reason why…because essentially that person is saying their time is more important than your time.

Right there, I realized I never thought of what message it was sending to other people.  I basically gave people the benefit of the doubt that something happened – hence not a big deal.  So I started paying attention.  I noticed that there were definitely repeat late offenders, often with little or no apology.  I noticed how this influenced other people to not be on time (“we won’t start the meeting on time anyway” mindset).  I noticed how upset people who were on time and waiting really were.

Jill was right, it is a big deal.  It’s respecting other people’s time as much as you respect your own.   As grateful as I am for this lesson, I also curse her at every doctor’s appt when I wait and wait and wait.

So I made a commitment to myself….be on time.  This is not always easy or possible but here are things I do to try:

    • Know your calendar.   I prepare in the morning.  What materials do I need – so I don’t have to go back to my desk first, etc.  This includes addressing conflicting meetings and providing information as to which one you are not attending.
    • Quick update text if necessary.  Things happen – if your attendance is now changing, let someone know. The sooner, the better.
    • Try ending meetings 5 minutes early.  25 min meetings, 55 min meetings…people need time to get to the next one
    • Make big picture priority decisions.  Sure, it would be great to just spend 10 more minutes to close out this topic but that 1-1 is important, don’t just quickly cancel.
    • If you are late, genuinely apologize
    • Yes, you will even see me jog to my next meeting (which can be impressive in heels)

What other ideas do you have to be on time?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

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