Respect Includes Punctuality

Shante Abdo

It never ceases to amaze me how very disrespectful some “professionals” are in regards to punctuality. For instance, I once worked on a job where the CEO and I bumped heads constantly because of his lack of respect for OPT (Other People’s Time). In fact, on several occasions I wondered if he had ANY concept of time whatsoever.

I remember calling him at his desk…

“You’re still here? Your meeting starts in 10 minutes!”

He’d reply with, “It’s just a five-minute drive,” wherein I’d remind him that “five minutes” doesn’t apply when you have yet to (1) gather your materials; (2) get to your car; and (3) drive to the meeting site. Then I’d remind him that he’s going to sit in traffic for at least ten minutes because it’s the middle of the day and his meeting is in the downtown district. In essence, he’s already late before he even leaves the office.

It was a never-ending cycle: My dragging him out of the office, and his constant relenting.

Because I feared for my job (you might be surprised to find that tact is not always strong suit), I didn’t tell him what I’m going to say here: One of the quickest way to lose a client is to show lack of respect for that client’s time.

Unless you’re a parolee, time is something that, once used, can never be regained. So if we’re scheduled for a 2pm meeting, we should show up in time to (1) park; (2) greet the staff; (3) get settled into our meeting space; and (4) start the meeting at the designated time. Ideally, one should be in the lobby of the site at least 10 minutes before it begins; 15 minutes is even better.

In a perfect world, the client would view our time as equally important, but we know that’s not the case. Often the client feels that it’s “his” time that’s wasted – so if he’s wasting his time, what’s the harm? While that outlook is far from professional, WE should never be the reason that a meeting is held up, or that it goes overtime.

It’s a serious sign of disregard for our profession, and more importantly, disrespect for the client.

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