Maybe I am getting old and grumpy, but it appears that more frequently, people are coming to meetings late. I am unsure if it is a result of trying to cram too many meetings into a day or if people are simply losing respect for others and themselves; as a result, they are showing up just on time or late.
If this is the case in your organization or department, I encourage you to first look in the mirror. To change the culture (and yes, culture can be changed), it starts with you as the senior leader or team. I was recently talking with one of the CEOs I coach, and he stated with pride how their organization had a culture of being on time. I loved this because I know about their timeliness, so I began contemplating why this was the case. As a mid-sized, work-from-anywhere sort of organization, they could easily be plagued with people showing up late to meetings. And yet, that is not the case.
As I considered why, I realized it came down to three simple steps the CEO personally had done to set the stage for this cultural change. They are as follows:
- Leading by example. For the CEO, he shows up on time to every commitment. He takes it personally if he is late to anything. As a result, he is consistent and leads by example in every meeting.
- Talking about being on time. This CEO realizes the importance of pointing out how he feels about being on time. He believes this is a sign of mutual respect for each other’s time and busy schedules. He did not mention this one time; rather, he talks about it – a lot. Because of his communication, everyone is clear about how important it is, and this message begins to cascade down to the rest of the organization.
- Being relentlessly consistent. If anyone is late (sometimes, there are legitimate reasons), it is called out. There is a very low tolerance for being late due to poor time management. As a result, people are rarely (if ever) late to meetings with the CEO – a habit that is now pulsing throughout the entire organization.
These may seem like simple, small steps to culture change; however, I believe they provide us with crystal-clear examples of how important it is for senior leaders to drive the change in culture. Creating a culture of timeliness supports how effective time management can help an organization become more present from within, as well as actively listen and engage when working together.
In our next post, we will explore the process of creating this sort of culture.
How well do you lead by example? How are you doing talking about why examples of culture are important? Are you being relentlessly consistent in setting your examples and expectations?