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

Simple blood test can now detect cancer
London, July 29 (IANS) In a first, British researchers have devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not.
 
 
NASA's Mars rover breaks off-Earth roving record
Washington, July 29 (IANS) NASA's Opportunity Mars rover that landed on the Red Planet in 2004 now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after trekking for 40 km.
 
 
Smartphone catches fire under US girl's pillow
New York, July 29 (IANS) In a bizarre accident, a 13-year-old girl found her Samsung Galaxy S4 burnt and melted under her pillow.
 
 
Apple Reportedly Releasing New MacBook Pros on Tuesday
Apple Reportedly Releasing New MacBook Pros on Tuesday
Apple will update 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros today, and will equip all the variants of the larger one with the 16GB RAM.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Man strangles lover's son to hide affair
Beijing, July 29 (IANS) A man in China strangulated his lover's son to death after the 12-year-old came to know of their extra marital affair. The man, pretending to be the woman's cousin, stayed at her house in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
International observers to arrive in Russia
Moscow, July 29 (IANS) Two groups of representatives from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are scheduled to arrive in Russia's Rostov region Tuesday. The observers would be attending a...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Simple blood test can now detect cancer
London, July 29 (IANS) In a first, British researchers have devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. Early results have shown the new test gives a high degree of...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Bradley Cooper has burger flipping lesson
Bradley Cooper is learning how to flip burgers. The 36-year-old actor had a lesson at Burger King in Leicester Square, London, on Sunday night (07.27.14) to help him master ''the art of the flip'' in preparation for his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Beyoncé secretly house-hunting alone
Beyoncé is reportedly house-hunting without Jay Z. The 32-year-old singer has fuelled rumors she and her husband are on the rocks after she was spotted secretly viewing a $21.5 million Chelsea penthouse in Manhattan...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
NASA's Mars rover breaks off-Earth roving record
Washington, July 29 (IANS) NASA's Opportunity Mars rover that landed on the Red Planet in 2004 now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after trekking for 40 km. "Opportunity has driven farther than any other...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Smartphone catches fire under US girl's pillow
New York, July 29 (IANS) In a bizarre accident, a 13-year-old girl found her Samsung Galaxy S4 burnt and melted under her pillow. The north Texas girl kept the phone on charge and wedged her charging phone under her...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Zoe Saldana will use family rules
Zoe Saldana will raise her children in a way similar to her own upbringing. The 36-year-old actress is reportedly expecting twins with her husband Marco Perego, whom she married in a secret ceremony in London last year...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ed Sheeran won't make US move
Ed Sheeran won't be moving to America permanently. Despite selling hundreds of thousands of records in the US, the 'Drunk' hitmaker could never leave behind his friends and family in the UK. Asked if he will make the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Paul Rudd 'loves' revamped Ant-Man script
Paul Rudd is eagerly looking forward to working on 'Ant-Man'. The 45-year-old actor is busy getting himself in shape for the lead role in the forthcoming blockbuster and revealed that he ''loves'' the direction the...
Read more on Movie Balla