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Bill Abbate

Two Principles on Which You Can Build a Solid Career

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Bill Abbate
Bill Abbate
 2021-05-07

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Why is it some people are almost always late and rarely if ever, arrive early? Does it frustrate you, or are you okay with it? If punctually-challenged people frustrate you, or if you happen to be one of them, read on.

Have you heard someone say, "they'd be late for their own funeral if it were possible." While an exaggeration, I have known more than one person who fits this description. And yes, they frustrate me to no end.

Lateness has been a pet peeve of mine for as long as I can remember. I don't know precisely when being on time became so important to me, but I think it was when I entered the military as a teenager. It may be different today, but you did not want to be late when I was in the service. Ever! No excuses were permitted or allowed.

The years I spent in business followed the example set in the military for the most part, although the requirement was less stringent. As a rule, being on time depended more on the person you reported to than the organization, unless you were like me, and it was your organization. In the companies I ran, punctuality was a matter of respect. Time is money, and I was not there to waste either. I left little room for tardiness.

But that was me, and not everyone feels that way. I have lowered my expectations a bit in my recent retirement years but still have little use of someone showing disrespect in any form, timewise or otherwise.

Respect and Confidence

In the business world, being on time becomes a matter of respect. Perceptions can vary far more in the personal world.

As I said, time is money, and even in business, there may be occasions to lower your expectations. Not so much for employees or colleagues, but for your customers. After all, unless you have a unique and exclusive product, you can only push a customer so far. Whenever I had dinner or lunch with a client or customer, I always showed up on time. But what is on time for me may be different for you or them.

By on time, I mean early. I left no room for error when it came to client meetings and made sure I arrived in advance of the meeting time. Fortunately, in today's world, there is no excuse not to communicate with whomever you are meeting should you run late. This was not the case a few years ago before the widespread use of smartphones.

Yet, I still consider client meetings a special case. When you are routinely late for meetings or any work that is due, what does it say about you? Nothing good.

When you are punctual, you inspire trust and confidence in those you work for and with. This is not only true today; it has been true throughout history. More than a century ago, the following words were written:

"Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time." William Mathews (1770-1854)

The most valuable thing an employee can do is instill confidence in those they work for and with by being punctual. When they know they can depend on you, you become practically invaluable. Too many today are not only not punctual, but they are not dependable. It is easy to separate yourself from the crowd when you observe and honor other people's time.

Lastly, what was believed hundreds of years before William Mathew's time continues to be as true today as it was then:

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late." William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

While you may think Shakespeare took it to the extreme, I believe he was only driving home a point. It is always better to be early rather than late. Always.

Add one thing to punctuality to supercharge your career

One more thing you can do in a company to inspire trust and confidence in you is to produce consistent, high-quality work. Together, punctuality and quality work will supercharge your career in ways nothing else can.

The principle of quality, as is the principle of punctuality, has been recognized for many years, as you can read in the following quote:

"The quality of your work, in the long run, is the deciding factor on how much your services are valued by the world." Orison Swett Marden (1848-1924

When you produce quality work, think of what is most important to the person who will use it, not what you want. As the father of modern management once said:

"Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it." Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Why do the principles of punctuality and quality work propel you forward? Because they show you respect for the work you do, and respect those for whom you do the work. In return, you will receive the reward of respect and confidence from your employer or customer. This increased trust and confidence will bring even greater rewards to you.

Final thoughts

There you have it – a sure formula for building a successful career and life. All you need do is be punctual and do quality work, each of which is expected by every employer and customer, yet are received far less than they would like.

It is a simple matter to stand out from the crowd when so many routinely ignore these two success principles. All you need to do is convince yourself to be consistently on time and produce high-quality work. Success will surely follow swiftly.

If you are one of those who is always late, "STOP IT!" Yes, I meant to yell that! I want to get your attention as it is that important to you in your life.

There is no reason or excuse for you to be disrespectful to others in such a way, so please stop it!. You can change your behaviors if you want to badly enough.

Watch this short video and take its lesson to heart.

A great lesson from Bob Newhart!

I assure you if you imbed the principles of punctuality and quality work in your heart, you will take your life far further than most. I wish you great success in your life!