Start on time, every time

Start on time, every time

Would you bet on everyone arriving on time for your next meeting? A CareerBuilder survey on office pools found one group of employees placing wagers on just how late a co-worker would be. That’s how bad the problem of team members’ being tardy can become.

Starting meetings on time shouldn’t be a struggle. If stragglers are derailing your efforts to hold efficient meetings, adopt these tactics:

  • Begin with a bang. Start your meeting on time and with an important topic. Don’t wait or backtrack for latecomers. Make it their responsibility to be on time.
  • Be an escort. Chronically late people often try to squeeze in “one more thing” before leaving for a meeting. Help your tardy team member break the habit by swinging by that person’s office a few minutes before the meeting. Invite the person to walk with you.
  • Charge for delay. Make the point that “time is money” by charging latecomers a nominal fee. Donate any collection to a charity your organization supports or use the money to buy snacks for the next session.
  • Shock with a lockout. If all else fails, show people you are serious about being on time. When it’s time for the meeting to begin, close the conference room door.

Your best strategy is to hold tightly focused meetings that require attention. Some latecomers will respond to coaching or good-natured penalties. But the bottom line is that showing up on time is a performance issue, so treat it that way. Clearly outline your expectations to staff and hold them accountable for meeting your standards.

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