You have scheduled a meeting to begin at 9:00 a.m. Ten team members are invited. Three arrive five to 10 minutes early. Five arrive right on time between 8:59 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Two arrive late at 9:02 a.m. You do not begin on time. This probably looks a lot like your meetings.
As you process their promptness, you begin to notice a unique trend, and it shapes your opinion of their skills and abilities. Their promptness matches their overall performance. The early arrivers constantly exceed expectations by delivering more than is required to the company and its customers.Those who arrive exactly on time are very reliable but rarely do anything that significantly advances the overall mission and vision. Every great organization has stable team members, but the danger is they lack margin. If something goes unexpectedly wrong (accident, flat tire, road race, weather, etc. …), they will be late. The same goes for their work.Those who are late often drag the organization down in every area they are involved in.You may be saying, “That is awfully legalistic.” To which I would respond, early arrivers never accuse leaders of being legalistic. Only those who are late.
Smart leaders realize for any organization to be successful, you need as many people on your team who arrive early as possible.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll makes these 12 observations about the importance of arriving early in his wonderful book Win Forever: Live, Work and Play Like a Champion:
- Being early means your mind is ready to learn.
- Being early means your priorities are in order.
- Being early means you are organized.
- Being early means you have a plan.
- Being early means you are prepared to execute your plan.
- Being early shows respect to the leader who called the meeting.
- Being early shows respect to your co-workers who are there to learn and get better.
- Being early shows self-respect.
- Being early models for new employees what is expected.
- Being early makes your life easier.
- Being early gives you more self-confidence.
- Being early makes you more prepared for future assignments.
An early mentor of mine once said, “Brian, you can take anything from a man and get it back—money, family, possessions, respect. But there is one thing you can’t take and give back—time. When you take a person’s time it is gone forever. Never be late.”
If you are in leadership, give these 12 reasons to your team and advise them next week’s 9:00 a.m. meeting really means you will begin at 8:55 a.m.