Time is the resource that once spent is gone forever.
Let that sink in.
That's why it's important for leaders to respect their own time as well as the time of others. When it comes to any meeting, it is crucial to be on time every time or let the other participants know that you will be late as soon as you realize it.
Every Meeting is an Agreement
Meetings are an agreement to meet at a particular time, discuss specific topics, and make actionable decisions.
The people participating in the meeting have set aside this time and stopped their own work to attend. If you don't show up on time they can't start the meeting–but they also can't leave because they don't know if you'll show up later.
If the participant is someone you want to do business with, they will not engage with your company. If they are employed by you, they will be quiet but begrudge you. Remember that employees join companies, but leave managers.
This not only wastes other people’s time, it's also disrespectful and can create resentment.
It's understandable that emergencies or other unexpected events may cause you to be late or miss a meeting. It's important to let the other participants know as soon as possible if you won't be able to make it on time.
Be Present During Meetings
Being on time isn’t enough–you must also be prepared and focused during the meeting. Allow enough time to review materials and get organized before the meeting starts.
You ultimately want to be ahead of time. If it is an outside meeting, be in the area 15 minutes early. If it is in the office, finish your current task at least 5 minutes before the meeting.
To avoid back-to-back meetings, I recommend scheduling all meetings in 25 and 50-minute increments. Google Calendar has an automated setting for this.
Slack’s Google Calendar integration allows you to set customizable meeting-specific reminders. Send reminders to yourself and your team prior to an upcoming meeting so they know to find a breaking point and prepare.
It's important to be present in every meeting. Being present means putting your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode or leaving it in your pocket. Checking your messages or being constantly "on" during a meeting is disrespectful. This undermines the purpose of a synchronous meeting, which is to collaborate with the participants in attendance.
CEOs Build Company Culture (Good and Bad)
As a leader, it's important to set a good example for your team and the culture you're trying to create.
Break these rules at your own risk. When you are late or miss a meeting, you are stealing time away from the other participants who are waiting, unsure if or when you will show up. This is disrespectful, counterproductive, and although it isn’t always shared directly, will piss people off.
Being late consistently will show your employees that it is acceptable to show up late or be unfocused during meetings. You are the leader of your business. Lead by example.
Why Being On Time is Critical
- Time is the resource that once spent is gone forever.
- Each meeting is an agreement to meet at a particular time, discuss specific topics, and make actionable decisions.
- Being consistently late will hurt your reputation. Employees will leave you and leads will not want to engage with your business.
- You set the standard for your company’s culture. Lead by example.