Tardy bells

Is it really that hard to arrive on time to a meeting? I don’t know about other organizations, but where I work, the ontime arrival of people to meetings is worse than ontime arrival of flights by the major airlines. I don’t understand it. How hard can it be?

The most frequent excuse I am given for people not arriving ontime to a meeting is that they were in another meeting than ran over. That might sound like a good excuse but it makes the person sound rather silly if you ask me. If I have back-to-back meetings, I always let people in the earlier meeting know that I have a meeting right after this one and that I must leave five minutes early in order to get to the other meeting on time. If you are important enough (I’m not) this has the added bonus of getting people to discuss in 55 minutes what would otherwise have taken 60.

Under very rare circumstances (once this year so far) I knew that I was going to be late to a meeting. In this case, I called ahead and told the people involved that I would be 10 minutes late. And then I made sure that I wasn’t 11 minutes late. But no one seems to do this. People rarely call or send email indicating that they will be late to meetings.

When we were in school, we got a reprimand of one kind or another if we got to class after the tardy bell rang. I think we need tardy bells in organizations like mine to keep people on their toes. Punctuality is common courtesy. When people are late it is disrespectful. We all need to learn to be a little more courteous.


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