On Being Late

The Bard once observed, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

It is too bad more people didn’t subscribe to Shakespeare’s sense of courtesy when it comes to arriving on time for a meeting. Can you think of anything more bothersome in a workday. It’s really disrespectful of someone’s time.

Brent Beshore, entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of adventur.es, recently wrote about people being tardy in an excellent Forbes.com article: 5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable

Beshore lists a number of reasons why being late is unacceptable. Here is that list.

Disrespectful: Being on time is about respect. It signals that you value and appreciate the other person. If you don’t respect the meeting’s participants, why are you meeting with them in the first place?

Inconsiderate: Unintentionally being late demonstrates an overall lack of consideration for the lives of others. You just don’t care.

Big-Timing: Intentionally being late is about power. It’s showing the other person, or people that you’re a “big deal” and have the upper-hand in the relationship. It’s also called being a dick.

Incredible: No, not in the good way. When you miss meeting times or deadlines, your credibility takes the trajectory of a lead balloon. If you can’t be counted on to be on time, how could you possibly have credibility around far tougher tasks?

Unprofitable: Let’s consider a scenario where five people are holding a meeting at 2 p.m. Your sauntering in ten minutes late just wasted 40 minutes of other peoples’ time. Let’s say the organization bills $200/hour. Are you paying the $133 bill? Someone certainly is.

Disorganized: If you can’t keep your calendar, what other parts of your life are teetering on the edge of complete disaster? Being late signals at best that you’re barely hanging on and probably not someone I want to associate with.

Overly-Busy: Everyone likes to equate busyness with importance, but the truly successful know that’s BS. Having a perpetually hectic schedule just signals that you can’t prioritize, or say “no,” neither of which is an endearing trait.

Flaky: Apparently some people just “flake out,” which seems to mean that they arbitrarily decided not to do the thing they committed to at the very last minute. Seriously? That’s ridiculous.

Megalomaniacal: While most grow out of this by the age of eight, some genuinely believe they are the center of the universe. It’s not attractive. Note, this is also called Donald Trump Syndrome. Do you want to be compared to Donald Trump?

So, “Don’t be late for your next meeting!” It’s not that you have to follow Shakespeare’s suggestion to show up three hours beforehand, but you may wish to set your watch 10 minutes fast and enjoy the walk into the meeting.

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