It’s over a decade ago now, when a workman turned up an hour late. He briskly entered, telling me off for deliberately giving him the wrong address. I was too bemused to object.
Yesterday, a gentleman arrived 40 minutes late for an interview, complaining that the place was very difficult to get to. Hmm, as I considered all the others in the office. However, what should I respond and when?
I decided to hold back, looking for a more appropriate moment. And my reasoning was very clear to me. For most of us when we are late, it is because we have not left nearly enough time to arrive on time. Why? Usually it is because we are unnerved by what is in front of us or we do not belief it is of value.
Thus, we drag out that cup of coffee. We miss the earlier bus. We sneak in an extra phone call. And all of this is done, while we try to fool ourselves that we are seriously trying to be ‘on time’ for our appointment.
And in the end, the only people we really fool are….. indeed ourselves.
Back to my critical gentleman friend. We sat and discussed. As a business mentor, did I believe that he could set up this concept – it is a service based venture – in the Jerusalem area? Yes, I responded very categorically, and his eyes lit up. “But on one condition!”
Panic swept across his face. I continued. “You need to change. You are seeking to provide a service for others. You cannot blame them for your mistakes.”
The moment he asked me to explain further, he realised his mistake. “If you want to be late for a meeting, I don’t mind. You pay for my time. However, don’t you expect a higher standard from yourself?”
To drive home the point, I did not say anything else. I let my facial expression exclaim ‘do not blame me for you not valuing my time with the respect it deserves’.
Our hero of the story signed up for a series of sessions on how to develop his new business.