Define “Late”

When people are late – are they really late? The typical definition is that the time set for something is the time you need to be there. That’s the ‘rule’ by which everybody is judged.

A 7 pm movie has over 20 minutes of previews and ads. So, is showing up at 7:20 getting there late? For the movie, it turned out that it’s right on time. For a sporting event, isn’t it the same thing? 7pm is the start of pre-game stuff, national anthem, and introductions. It’s hard to judge non-Gold people when even lots of Golds allow 20 minutes for a movie and 10-15 minutes for a sporting event.

But what about meetings or seminars? I often wonder if we don’t send signals that we really don’t get going on time, anyway. I wonder if we haven’t taught people that being on time has no payday in it. Have we taught them that nothing “really meaningful” gets discussed in the first 10 minutes? Have we taught people that meetings are too long and, since they can’t leave early, the only option is to come late?

With seminars it’s very similar. I often don’t get to start on time – it’s up to the person running the event, or whoever is in charge, to let me know when I can get going. Frequently, it’s “there are two people missing so we’ll just give them a few more minutes.” Fair enough – and not my call. But unless it’s really bad weather, or quite often, some other legitimate reason, aren’t we teaching the 18 out of 20 who are there that the start time was really only an estimate?

Nobody (especially high Oranges) wants to feel left out, excluded, or miss something cool, valuable, or important. What if that gets addressed right at the start of a meeting? What if you did a draw for some gift cards at the start for those whose butt is in their seat? I’d bet the ‘late’ people will start being on time – every time! And your Gold staff will really appreciate it.