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"On a regular basis we discover interesting articles by other authors. These articles present ideas that we feel may be of benefit to you. Here is one such article." – Dave Kahle

The Surefire Way to Destroy Trust: Tardiness

by Cory Halbardier © 2006-2008

There are two types of people: Those who habitually show up early, and those who habitually show up late. You know who they are. If you tell them a meeting starts at 3, they'll be there around 3:15. If they need to attend a class that starts at 8, you can count on them being there at 8:30 because they were "stuck in traffic."

Of course there are always instances that even habitually early people show up late like an accident on the freeway or an unplanned family emergency. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about those who are late to everything.

Why is this important? Unfortunately people link tardiness to trust. If an employee is often late to work, the boss will wonder, "If I can't trust him to be here on time, how can I trust him to work with larger clients?" Or if you are meeting with a client and are late for those meetings, they may go elsewhere for business next time they buy.

Another reason is that people assume their time is not valued. When I'm late, I'm in effect saying to the person I'm meeting, "My time is more valuable than your time." Nobody wants that thought about themselves, I don't think.

Some maybe saying right now, "My family was always late for everything. I was taught that from an early age." I don't care. Take responsibility for yourself without pushing blame on anyone or anything else. Or you may be saying, "Nobody thinks that." Yes they do. Let's be straight about that.


Here is a trick for keeping yourself from being late. This will work 95% of the time. Work backward. Figure out what time you must stop working on everything else and start getting ready for an appointment.

It's actually a very simple idea. If I need to be to a meeting at 9 am, this is what I do. Plan first on being there 10 minutes early, so we're at 8:50. If it's going to take 25 minutes with traffic (being realistic) and parking, then I need to leave at 8:25. Now I have to eat, which will normally take 20 minutes, including cooking, so I must start cooking at 8:05.

If it takes me 30 minutes to take a shower and get dressed (including picking out clothing for the meeting), then I must at least be up by 7:35. This is assuming I have all my papers together and they are by the door. If they are not together and I don't know how long it will take, I plan to do it the night before. If I know it will take me 20 minutes in the morning, maximum, to do, then I get up at 7:15.

It just takes about 25 seconds of planning and it can be done in your car the night before. This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to build trust in a relationship.

Let's look at another example. In this example, we are going to have two client–meetings back to back. One meeting is set for 3 pm and another is set for 4:30 pm. How do we handle this? Let's run through the whole process. If the second meeting is at 4:30 and it is 15 minutes drive from the first meeting, I will give myself 25 minutes, just in case of a traffic jam. So that means I must be driving away from the first meeting at 4:05. This means I will need to begin to wrap up the meeting 15 minutes early, which is 3:50.

Next I ask the question, "Can I do what I need to do in the first meeting in 60 minutes including small talk?" If the answer is "no", I move the second meeting back as early as I know this (at least a day before), but if it's "yes", great. Now let's work backward from the first meeting. If I need to be there at 3, I plan on being there 15 minutes early ( 2:45). It takes 25 minutes to drive and park so I'll leave work at 2:20. If I know it will take 10 minutes to get papers together for each meeting ( 20 minutes total), I will begin to do this at 2:00. So 2 o'clock is my start time. It's the time I stop everything else and start to get ready for this meeting.

One important key to making this work is to be realistic. If every day you think you're going to set a new land–speed record at taking a shower, eating, putting papers together, or driving, this will never work. In fact, you are always going to want to be conservative. What should you do if you are someplace early? Great! Always have something with you to read. That way no time is wasted. This will also allow you to get through that book you say you never have time for.


Another important key to making this work is to not push back on your "stop everything else" time. If I need to begin to get ready for the meeting at 2:00, I don't start at 2:01 or 2:02. I do it on or before 2:00.

I challenge you this week to use this technique at least once. You will notice that with use, it will become natural.

One last thing that is important to mention on this topic is that canceling or changing appointments at the last minute destroys trust as well. Most people give someone one freebie. After that, the canceller is telling the cancellee, "I have other things to do that are more important than this meeting,"' and the cancellee will take their business elsewhere. If you're thinking, "I don't really care if people cancel with me," this paragraph is for you because more than likely you are in this group. If you live in this group, just ask yourself how you want to be known. Being successful in business and life means you must be trustworthy.

You can decide how successful you want to be by which habits for success you adopt.

Make it a great day!

About The Author:

Cory Halbardier is a personal and professional success coach with Light the Path Coaching and Consulting. He works with leaders and salespeople who want to be in the top 10% of their professional by developing skills for peak performance. Please visit his website for more articles on peak performance.


Dave Kahle offers a variety of resources that can help your business stay competitive in changing times. To learn you can reach Dave by phone at 800-331-1287 or send him an email request.

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