Being On Time

577651158I loved Tom Coughlin as a coach. He was strict in his philosophies and my beloved Giants won 2 Super Bowl championships during his tenure. One of his key philosophies was not just to be on time, but to be 5 minutes early. Though the Giants parted ways with Coughlin after last season, his legacy remains. “Thinking of a way to honor Tom, we have our digital clocks all five minutes fast, and we’re going to stick with that,” said new head Coach Ben McAdoo. “That’s T.C. time. That’s a part of Giants culture now.”

A few years ago I wrote about the concept of punctuality in business and life. I too believe in being on time. In fact I don’t not have the patience for those who are chronically late. Sure all of us are late at some point, but we all know the person who thinks it’s OK to be late 100% of the time.

In fact of all the Strumings posts (and we’re getting close to 500) the most read post was about the subject of timeliness. So I share once again, a post from 2014,

Is It Reasonable to Expect Others To Be On Time

Yes, it is very reasonable…and others should expect it of me as well.

I recently read an interesting article called 6-1/2 Things You Should Stop Expecting From Others It was an interesting piece and I agreed with much of what was suggested, except #2: Stop Expecting People To Be On Time.

I don’t buy this. Not even close. Never did and never will. The article suggests bringing a book to read while you wait for the tardy party. That’s nonsense. I will read a book on the beach, or when I chose to. I do expect people to be on time, and they should expect me to be on time. Time is the most valuable commodity we each have in life. I do not appreciate anyone wasting my time.

I realize that in today’s world there are always extenuating circumstances. Clearly the overturned tractor trailer on the expressway, the closed highway, the delayed plane, etc. are all legit excuses. And if truly infrequent, these are not biggees and are hardly crimes against humanity.

But let’s be clear—an excuse and a result are not the same. When somebody makes a time commitment to be someplace, do something, etc. at a specific time, their credibility is at stake. And not delivering at the appointed time, particularly when they do so frequently, diminishes my respect for them. Why? Because they in essence they are saying, “My time is more valuable than yours, so if I am late, it doesn’t matter—you can wait”. Who are you to waste my time, the Queen of Sheeba? You know the type—they blow in tardy to a meeting or event in a huff and then expect everyone to have sympathy for their plight. No sympathy from me when you do this all the time.

In business when I ran two different ad agencies, I used to literally create fines for tardiness to meetings. We’d throw the fine money in a jar and donate it at some point to a worthy charity. The purpose was to highlight our collective responsibilities to each other. When a meeting with 8 people starts 10 minutes late—you’ve wasted 80 minutes not just 10. I am human—we all are. No one is 100% prompt and there were times when I paid the fine. I was embarrassed when this happened. Being on-time is about anticipating the unexpected and allowing extra time as a result. When you cut the time to the last second, and then blame it on others, it’s a joke.

I’ve been known to say when one needs to travel that you should “travel like mensch”. That means leave yourself some wiggle room for getting lost, extra traffic and get there early. That’s OK. Don’t cut it to the last second and be surprised when some “unexpected” occurrence makes you tardy. You should expect traffic on the George Washington Bridge (even without our Guv’s helping hand) or Schuylkill Expressway, and not be surprised by it. And if because of truly extenuating circumstances you are going to be tardy, tell the other party in advance so they know it.

Stop Expecting People To Be On Time? No way.

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