One Trait That Can Make Or Break Your Reputation In Business

May 12 2014, 10:28am CDT | by

We all have a list of traits that bother us in a person, particularly in the people we do business with. Your list may be long, short, consistent, or ever-changing, but there is one quality that tends to make the cut across the board – lateness. I did a poll of 150 of my business associates, and more than 80% listed lateness as one of their top three greatest annoyances in those that they work with. In the business arena (and every other, for that matter), a lack of punctuality is not something to be overlooked. Yes, there are those rare unavoidable moments in life where your car breaks down or your plane is delayed, but the truth is that those instances are extremely rare. Generally when an associate is late it is due to their own poor planning, or worse, selfishness and lack of caring. These are the real reasons not to take tardiness lightly. If you work with a person that is chronically late, your warning signs should be be going off. If you’re that late person, your warning signs should be exploding.

 In theory, it should be getting easier to be punctual nowadays with all of our technological advances. After all, your calendar is synced to all 5 of your devices, and Siri is setting reminders and alarms instantaneously. GPS can predict exactly when you will arrive at your destination. Most people are even hooked up to the same world clock on their iPhone which means even our minute hands are ticking at the same time. We are in a constant state of tech overload. There are zillions of apps to help our punctuality, preparedness, and productivity. However, technology appears to be the demise of timeliness. It’s too easy to text your client that you will be five minutes late because of “parking.” E-mail allows you to push back a meeting 15 minutes before it starts. Technology isn’t preventing our tardiness, it’s feeding it. It’s making it more acceptable. The fix? Get back in touch with your internal clock. Hold yourself, not your iPad, accountable. After all, people were doing business (and promptly) before there were screens prema-attached to their eyeballs.

For those of you that read my articles regularly, I am going to sound like a broken record as I mention Dale Carnegie once again. His book is full of straightforward, common sense tips for success. However, sometimes it seems common sense isn’t so common. In his famous book of the same title, Carnegie advices, “if you want to win friends and influence people, be prompt.” Punctuality directly correlates with the amount of respect a person has for another and for their time. When you are late, you are telling your colleague that your time is more valuable than theirs, whether you intend to or not. Yes, we’ve all heard and used the I’m-sorry-I’m-extremely-busy-today excuse. However, this is hardly an excuse. Your day may be packed, but your colleague’s is too. With every extra minute they wait for you, you are foiling their plans for the rest of the day. Conversely, punctuality shows that you are mindful of the other party’s schedule and that their time is important to you. It shows that you are not only thinking about yourself, but considering the other person, as well.

null  If you can be counted on to be where you say you will be, when you say you will be there, it shows that you can be trusted with other tasks and responsibilities. In fact, studies show that people that are not punctual tend to underestimate how long things will take, procrastinate, and are more easily distracted than others. Why would your boss entrust a top priority project to a guy that slinks into the 9 a.m. meeting at 9:12 with a Starbucks in hand? He can’t even be in his seat on time, let alone meet a deadline. Be the person with notebook and pencil out at 8:57. Or perhaps more accurately, be the person with iPad mini and Notes app open at 8:57.

 Punctuality is key when it comes to branding yourself as a hard-working, trustworthy, capable business associate. After all, some of the most successful people in history were extremely punctual and demanded the same timeliness from those around them – Steve Jobs, Gandhi, and George Washington to name a few. Jobs started meetings on the dot. Gandhi was inseparable from his watch. When a member of Congress was late to dinner with the first president, Washington famously quipped, “we are punctual here. My cook never asks whether the company has arrived, but whether the hour has come.” Don’t risk your reputation by being even five minutes late. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes in case of traffic. Wake up 10 minutes early. Keep your business materials organized and easily accessible. Make punctuality a priority in your life. You’ll thank yourself later.

Six Ways To Earn Respect At Work

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Now, explore Egyptian pyramids from home
London, Sep 19 (IANS) If you are yet to experience the wonders of the ancient world still surviving in Egypt, you can now turn into a virtual visitor -- thanks to Google Street View -- and explore the pyramids from the comforts of your home.
 
 
Want good raise at work? Get a supportive wife
New York, Sep 19 (IANS) Do not just blame your boss or jealous colleagues for no promotion or salary hike at work - your spouse's personality is equally important to decide if your chosen career will make you richer or poorer.
 
 
People with larger pupil size bad decision makers
London, Sep 19 (IANS) People with larger pupil size tend to be inconsistent in their decisions, says a study.
 
 
Five World Heritage sites severely damaged in Syria: Experts
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now "exhibit significant damage" and some structures have been "reduced to rubble", reveals new high-resolution satellite image analysis.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

India, Nepal agree to complete field work in border
Kathmandu, Sep 19 (IANS) Nepal and India have formed two panels to look into the boundary issue for the first time and finalised the terms of reference (ToRs) of the Boundary Working Group (BWG). The first meeting of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
France launches first airstrikes against IS in Iraq
Paris, Sep 19 (IANS) France's President Francois Hollande said Friday French jets have launched first airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq where they seized major towns and threatened the region'...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Fireworks light Incheon sky as Asian Games ceremony begins
Incheon (South Korea), Sep 19 (IANS) A fusillade of fireworks marked the start of the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium here Friday. Fireworks lit up the sky here after a...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
GlaxoSmithKline China hit with record fine
Beijing, Sep 19 (IANS) The China branch of British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been fined three billion yuan ($489 million) for paying bribes. Following Friday's closed-door trial of the GSK China bribery...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Rita Ora desperate to reconcile with Calvin Harris
London, Sep 19 (IANS) Singer Rita Ora is reportedly desperate to reconnect with her ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris following their messy break-up earlier this year. The "RIP" singer has written a letter to her former...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
IS uses chemical weapons against army in Iraq
Baghdad, Sep 19 (IANS) The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has reportedly launched a chemical attack on Iraqi forces in Saladin province, media reports claimed Friday. The attack took place Wednesday and Thursday...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Rajnath Singh proposes SAARC centre for good governance
Kathmandu, Sep 19 (IANS) Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday proposed setting up a SAARC centre for good governance where officers from all member countries can come together to exchange their experiences....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Deadpool movie given release date
20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios have announced that the X-Men spin-off 'Deadpool' will be released on February 12, 2016. The character appeared in the 2009 film 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', with Ryan Reynolds playing...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Toby Kebbell linked to Ben Hur remake
Toby Kebbell is in early talks to appear in the remake of Ben Hur. According to Variety, the actor- who starred in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' - has already held discussions with MGM and Paramount over the role of...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Liam Neeson loves fishing
Liam Neeson goes fly fishing to escape the Hollywood lifestyle. The 'Taken' actor - who has sons Michael, 19, and Daniel, 18, with late wife Natasha Richardson - tries to take two months off every year to indulge in his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla