Jim reached early, having budgeted 45 minutes and doing the drive in 20. I reached early as well, budgeting 20 minutes and reaching in seven minutes or so.
Raj saw us immediately, not waiting for the scheduled time.
Jim and I have often been the first guests at events – in some instances reaching before the hosts. We never learn.
What is with us that we have little or no respect for time?
How can one be late for a meeting with someone that you want to discuss business with?
How can you have complete and total disregard for your guests that you start an event hours after the time printed on the invitation cards?
It’s easy to dismiss this as nitpicking and trivial and say, this is India.
The same India will be bang on time if Sir Martin Sorrell, for example, were involved in the meeting. Or if it was a pitch for a Rs. 100 crore account. Or if you were being interviewed for a post you wanted.
There’s no way, in such instances, you would say the traffic was bad or that the earlier meeting overran or that you couldn’t find parking space.
Those who work in a global environment know the importance of punctuality – and the damage it could do to one’s reputation if one is tardy.
The trouble with attention to punctuality is that it is a top-down culture thing. If the top management doesn’t care, the rest of the company doesn’t care. And then it gets sort of DNA-encoded into the organization.
That’s worrisome. I don’t like to do business with people who have no respect for my time. Jim doesn’t; most of my colleagues don’t.
Imagine this is how your client feels about you, your colleagues and your company. While you might think, better late than never, your client might think, better never than late.
Chew on that.