Over the next 7 Thursdays, I’ll describe 7 remarkably simple components of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. that you can apply to your everyday conduct. The ability to earn R.E.S.P.E.C.T. is a critical Leadership quality … and we have absolute control over the actions we take to earn it. Since it’s impossible to be an effective leader without it, let’s devote some time and energy to learn how to give it. Are you with me?
It was one of those days when I was already behind plan. I got to the meeting destination on time but I didn’t get a chance to find the missing file I needed for a later meeting or grab the dog food I swore to my wife I would drop off at the vet.
I was already a little irritated by all that, particularly by forgetting the coffee I had carefully prepared for the drive … and now getting even more irritable …
… because the other party still wasn’t there after 20 minutes!
When he came bungling in, it was with that bit of insouciance that makes you want to pour cabbage soup down his jumpsuit … and then with the … “sorry, man, my other meeting ran late and I tried to call you but my cell battery was almost dead and I had to use the juice to call a client and I was rushing to get here” …. yeah, blah, yeah.
What are you and I thinking when this happens to us … other than channeling Carnac the Magnificent and hoping that an evil genie will plant splinters in his bathing suit?
We know that there are lots of
excuses reasons why people are late … and at one time or another, we’ve all probably used them. But, do you know the universal reason why most people are late in the first place?
Answer? We think we’re actually going to get out the door at the time we’ve chosen to leave … but, here’s the problem. By the time you pack up, find the coat your wife took off the back of the chair and actually hung up, turn out the lights, let the dogs out one more time, locate that file you almost forgot, the vet food … you see where I’m going?
This is the first post in a weekly Leadership series, entitled R.E.S.P.E.C.T. How to earn it by showing it. “R” signifies “Right on time. Every time.“
Even though we’re smart enough to know when to leave … and might even allow a few extra minutes for unpredictable travel events … that’s not when we really leave.
We think departure time is when our car is backing out of the driveway … but it’s never backing out when we figured.
If you’re like my darling wife, you may also be checking to make sure the gas is off? … for the 2nd time … did I lock the back door? … did I leave my scarf in the trunk? … etc.
There’s a mind-numbingly simple cure for the curse of tardiness … START EARLIER.If you subtract 10 – 15 minutes from the time you would normally leave … problem solved!
You’ll actually be able to do the things that have to be done before you leave anyway … except that you’ll actually get out of the door at the appointed time. It’s all of those endless little things that won’t take any time that always take time. Then, we’re late.
My favorite excuse on this subject? “I don’t have time to leave earlier” as though the time we spend being late wouldn’t be needed if we were on time? Hmmmm, let me think on that …. Let’s see, what did I write about in 3 Simple Keys to Productive Meetings? Didn’t that have something to do with being on time?
The reality is that we still use the same amount of time … except that when we’re on time, we’re using OUR OWN TIME instead of using THE OTHER PERSON’S TIME.
When we’re on time, we’re no longer saying … “my time is actually more important than yours, so thanks for waiting” … not the greatest tool in the relationship building shed … but saying “Hey, I busted my butt to be on time because I respect your time.” (Hey, didn’t The Meaning of Accountability mean anything?)
It’s really so simple … yet we’re all trying to cram so much into the day … that we overlook that we’re stealing precious time that our counterpart could have spent their way instead of our way.
That’s why this painfully simple reminder is so important, isn’t it?
The person we’re meeting with doesn’t feel respected when we’re late.
If the truth were told, she isn’t … or we would have respected her time enough to be on time ourselves. (I’m sure a few of my friends are already chuckling over this post, remembering when I’ve been late. Hey, I’m on time most of the time, often early and trying to get better all the time.)
That’s the thing, too. Once we’re late … even a few times … nobody expects us to be on time the next time … they don’t worry too much about being on time for a meeting with us … we probably won’t be there anyway … so the cycle continues, they start showing up late and the whole process starts to circle the drain.
So, as we begin the new year … looking to make a clean start, improve on our shortcomings, build on our strengths? What greater way to earn respect than to show respect?
We have the power to be on time, to show others our respect for them … in a very simple way. When we talk about The Power of Personal Accountability, that’s what we mean.
I’ll try harder if you will. Deal?