punctual – even the rabbit knew better…

Every one of us know someone who is habitually late to every meeting. This is one of my biggest pet

punctual / on time to meetings


peeves. Well, besides the non value added meeting, only to be one up’d by the non value added meeting at 5PM on a Friday.

The image that the person who is always late instills upon others that they do not have it together, they do not care about the meeting, they see the group as a less of a priority. None of the above are always true – but the image is still present in the minds of the rest of us. Who did you think of – and what was the first adjective that you thought about the person?

I have found that with modern technology I use my iPhone to assist me with my meeting schedule. I also carry around the days calendar (from Microsoft Outlook) on my clipboard. I do this, because I can jot down notes throughout the day or pencil in ad-hoc meetings that need to happen. Instead of writing every thing that I need to remember on my legal pad I have kept the calendar sheet as the central point for time management. At the end of the day I carry over the notes and appointments etc. to their new respective destination.

I understand that anomalies happen. If the event that caused you to be late was more important – than I understand. Shut down the business, or make my meeting… I get it. However, I have found that it is the coffee-pot conversations, chatting, or no sense of time are the usual culprits. The first time, I usually jokingly (or subtle) call out to the person “Hey John Doe, glad you could make it. We can start now…” Of course I know the individuals and would only do that with people I know. You may need to consider a different strategy. A possible quick email later with something to the effect of “Thanks for coming to the meeting today, in the 10 mins we started before you were able to attend we covered _______.”

If the problem persists, I would propose taking the person aside after the meeting and let them know that we are trying to get started on time and their contribution is best if fully engaged from the designated meeting start. Let them know who you feel, and that the group depends on their full commitment. Coming in late is not a good example of our leadership to the team.

By not saying anything – we are accepting the ongoing occurrences. The interactions need to be professional and for forming, storming, norming and performing to work effectively – all members must be punctual, participate, and actually engaged from the designated start. Showing up late not only creates conflict but also is a distraction.

I have provided a link to the podcast for this topic from Manager Tools. The gentlemen that put this together have a good handle on how to address this – beyond my introductory acknowledgements to the person(s).

“If your culture supports meeting lateness, we suspect that it also tolerates missed deadlines.”

~ http://www.manager-tools.com

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