Personally, I am not a fan of people who are always late. Sometimes, things happen that we have no control over, such as car accidents, traffic jams and unexpected family emergencies, to name a few. I am not addressing those situations.


What I am addressing is how punctuality can do wonders for your success.


Have you ever thought about what being punctual says about you? It shows you are in control, disciplined, able to keep track of things, trustworthy, reliable and respectful of another person’s time. Being late demonstrates none of those things. In fact, being late shows you are unreliable, disorganized, disinterested and inconsiderate. When you look at it from that perspective, you would never want yourself described that way.


Do you want to hire someone who is unreliable? Not me. How about disorganized? A disorganized person will make mistakes — and mistakes cost money. Let’s take a closer look at disinterested. One of the definitions of disinterested is having or feeling no interest in something, unconcerned, uncaring and unenthusiastic. That sounds like someone you NEVER want to have on your team. Then that leaves us with inconsiderate, defined as thoughtlessly causing hurt or inconvenience to others, unthinking, selfish, impolite and rude.


Associates, bosses and customers have NO fondness for lateness. I heard one person express it this way: “If you are chronically late, you are chronically rude.” If you are looking to be promoted to a leadership position, it will be difficult to prove yourself reliable when people are having to wait for you to show up. Punctuality is a product of discipline, proper planning and respect for others. In simple terms, preparedness and punctuality are two of the most important qualities of a leader.


When you are late, you are saying, “My time is more valuable than yours.” That is not a great way to start anything. The celebrated writer Charles Dickens once said, “I could have never done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order and discipline.” I feel that by being punctual, you are paying a courteous compliment to those you are about to see or serve; it’s a respectful gesture of how you value their time.


Chronic lateness sets a tone about accountability. If you want a culture in which people are accountable to customers, associates and even to themselves, then make punctuality a priority. Start all meetings on time, regardless of who is missing. The word will get out, and people will start showing up on time.


Being on time may seem a bit trivial to some people, but it’s a good idea to start making accountability part of your corporate culture. Shakespeare once stated: “Better three hours too soon, than a minute late.” There truly is power in being punctual.


Robert Stevenson is one of the most widely recognized professional speakers in the world. Author of the books How To Soar Like An Eagle In A World Full Of Turkeys and 52 Essential Habits For Success, he’s shared the podium with esteemed figures from across the US, including former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Anthony Robbins, Tom Peters and Steven Covey. Today, he travels the world, sharing powerful ideas for achieving excellence, both personally and professionally.