This flies in opposition to the well worn phrase, “Better late than never!” In “The Yeoman's Prologue and Tale,” Canterbury Tales, it was Geoffery Chaucer who appears to have been the first person to introduce us to this proverb, “For better than never is late.” Or as we say it “Better late than never.”
It should be said upfront that in certain cultures, “lateness” is a way of life. And when mixing business practices with folk who don’t see time as a commodity in ways Americans do, one must be prepared for that. These are not the people to whom Greg Savage is writing.
Greg is quite a successful dude. He has founded four very successful staffing businesses including Firebrand Talent Search and People2People. Best not show up late for a meeting with him!
His primary target to receive the diatribe on lateness are the chronically late. A meeting starts at 9 a.m., and they drift in at 9:10 or 9:15. A business lunch is scheduled for noon — the late-ster sends a text at 12:10 saying he or she is “5 minutes away.” You get the point.
My favorite item from his article involved his dentist. For years, Greg would show up on time — only to be sitting in a waiting room for 45 to 50 minutes. He finally got tired of feeling “abused” and got up and left!
Here’s how he resolved it: “Sure she was “busy,” another patient took longer than she expected, blah blah. But hold on, I am busy, too! I would not keep her waiting 45 minutes if she came to see me as a candidate. And yet I am HER customer. I told her I have been coming to you for 15 years but don’t take me for granted. See fewer patients in a day if you have to, but see me on time or close to it. She has never kept me waiting again.”
I’m with Greg! Whether it’s a business meeting, a business lunch or dinner, a private reception, a conference call, or whatever — if you set a time, let’s start on time. And this should be established up front.
FYI…Greg also makes allowances for the occasional miss. It will happen, despite our best planning. But the chronic abuse should not be tolerated.
My wife gets a wee bit uncomfortable with my “radio timing.” I calculate things pretty well to show up on time. For her, I’m calling it too close. In my radio world, I may be getting a coffee refill with 30 seconds to go until a live mike. But hey…I have 30 SECONDS!
There is one appointment for which we absolutely cannot be late! That is because it has been pre-determined. IT is the date and time we pass into eternity.
The book of Job states, “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.” (Job 14:5, NLT)
I was reminded of that yesterday when receiving the news that one of my former radio associates had died. A true radio talent, Bob Morrison was one of the best news reporters in the business. Bob and I worked together in Dallas, but shared hours together in a small group of men discussing our faith.
While I would encourage you to prepare to be on time for any business appointment, your final appointment is much more important. Preparing for that is a decision you make today.
Is it “rude” to meet your Creator and be unprepared?
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