As a leader of people, being late is one of my top pet peeves. In fact, I would couple this topic with integrity. Why? You might ask. Because disregard to timeliness, particularly when you’re in a group setting, is simply disrespectful.
I know, I know, nobody is totally innocent when it comes to being late. My son is still late to an occasional dentist appointment. But it’s still not good. It is a reflection on an individual and it can have a rippling impact to those around him/her. Most importantly, it impacts the financial bottom line.
I think of timeliness in a couple of different ways when it comes to a project. One instance has to do with physical presence, the other has to do with missing deadlines. In this blog post, I’d like to share some examples that demonstrate the impact tardiness has on business.
When my son is late to a dental appointment, he impacts the schedule of the hygienist who is expected to tend to him. In turn, this impacts the hygienist’s ability to attend to successive patients and it impacts the other patients’ time as well. Each of the upcoming patients likely has his/her own scheduled activities and is likely taking off work to be there so you being late cuts into their time and ability to do their job properly.
When someone shows up to work late (especially on a repeated basis) it is disrespectful. Being repeatedly late is not what you as a manager signed up for. When you hire someone full-time, you expect them to put in a full-time amount of work. Not doing so falls under my category of “marginal performers,” as I referenced in my post about Understanding the Importance of Staffing.
It is particularly distasteful when someone has a deadline, and has a multitude of reasons for not showing up on time (or at all), and also fails to coordinate on arrangements to ensure the work is somehow completed or the deadline pushed out. The most important thing here is communication, with both the project manager and with the client(s).
When a project manager is mapping out a schedule, he/she does so with the assumption that there will be “x” amount of resources over a duration of time. When these plans change and they fail to take the steps to coordinate on completion, I believe this is tantamount to being irresponsible. While the project manager has overall responsibility for team performance, it is essential that each individual accepts ownership for his/her piece of the pie.
When I interview a prospective candidate, I always make sure to ask my time management question – “do you think it is better to be on-time with a lesser-than product, or deliver a perfect product late?” There is no right or wrong answer per se, but it provides me with a good idea of how this prospective candidate prioritizes time if we decide to hire them.
In leading programs, I like to see deliverables turned in on time. If they’re going to need additional work, I like to see a discussion amongst the team and the clients in order to avoid surprises and mitigate risk. No one likes surprises on a project – these are the “unknown unknowns” that every manager hates to see coming.
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