Late is late

late2You’re reading my Monday Morning Wake Up. About 10,000 readers trust that it will be in their in-box every Monday morning. If it arrived on Monday afternoon, or sometime on Tuesday, it would be irrelevant – and so would I. Being on time is about honor and respect for those you work with, those you serve, and, more importantly, yourself. Lateness is not world class. Lateness is not professional. Lateness is living below the line.

I don’t like being late. I prefer to be early for work, appointments, and commitments. That’s how I’m wired. People that are habitually late are clearly wired differently. Some even take pride in their lateness, which is really nothing more than a feeble attempt get others to deal with their behavior and not hold them accountable.

If you’re a member of the “on-time club,” you probably can’t wait to share this MMWU with all of the late people in your life. If you’re a member of the “I’m late club,” I hope the message in this MMWU is heeded in the most no-compromise manner possible.

Here are some no-compromise thoughts on lateness:

  • It’s not OK: You can have the most delightful and winning personality ever, but that doesn’t give you the right to be late. Habitual lateness isn’t cute. Habitual lateness is a blatant disregard for others. It’s about taking advantage of other people’s time and patience. No, it’s not OK to be late.
  • It’s stressful: I fly a lot. I like to get to the airport early so I don’t have to rush. In stark contrast, I see late people frantically pushing through check-in and security lines to catch their flights. You can see the stress on their faces. Imagine starting every day having to rush around in order to avoid being late. There’s enough stress in our lives already, so why inflict more stress on yourself – or create stress for others that are forced to deal with your lateness?
  • It’s still late: A coaching client asked me if it’s being too rigid to hold an employee accountable for being one minute late. (The company policy is to send an employee home if late three times in a quarter.) My response was, “Late is late.” If you tolerate someone being one minute late, would you tolerate someone being two minutes late as well? How about five minutes? Accountability isn’t about handing out decks of “get out of jail free” cards to everyone – it’s about shared trust, honor, respect, and integrity. Late will always be late.
  • It’s obvious: I’ve been teaching seminars and doing public speaking for years. You guessed it – I like to start on time. But there are always the stragglers that arrive late when everyone else was on time. It’s also interesting to note that the same people tend to be late for class every day.
  • It’s a choice: Lateness is a pattern of behavior. It’s a choice. Everyone has an internal clock – not everyone likes to use it. The next time that habitually late employee asks, “Where’s my raise?” simply respond, “It’s late.” No compromise.

Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click here to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


2 Responses to “Late is late”

  1. March 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Neil, you are so right with this one. Being early is much better than being late. As a CPA, I am always facing a deadline. It is much better to have tax returns finished early than to be bumping into the deadline. We find that putting in more effort early saves in the long run. The last minute rush leads to mistakes along with the stress. I recommend that everyone be considerate of their tax preparer and get their tax information to them early and you will be rewarded with less stress and fewer mistakes. If you are early and you still get last minute service, maybe its time to find a new tax preparer.

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