I remember a former colleague telling me about a performance review she once had. She was working as an assistant manager at a nationally known restaurant chain. It was kind of an upscale chain and as an assistant manager you would have been pretty well paid.
The day of her performance review arrived and she anticipated receiving high marks because she was in fact an excellent assistant manager. Almost.
As she expected her review went well; her manager pointed out several key areas where she outperformed expectations. She was equally as great with the staff as she was with customers. She understood the business and executed against the company objectives extremely well. Her manager offered abundant praise for her skills, abilities, and overall performance.
Then, right in front of her and with great fanfare he tore her review into small pieces and tossed it in the trash. She sat there in shock for a moment before asking what he was doing. He replied that he threw it away because it didn’t really matter, it didn’t matter because there was one major flaw that made her skills and abilities far less valuable to the organization.
She had a problem, apparently a major problem, with punctuality. She was always running late, sometimes a few minutes and sometimes longer, sometimes much longer.
He told her that all the skills and ability in the world didn’t matter if she couldn’t be counted on to be at work to use them. As an assistant manager she was setting a terrible example for the people she was supposed to be leading.
The legendary former coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Bud Grant, has always said that a player’s greatness was not only determined by what he did on the field, it was also determined by how often he was on the field. He makes the point that for a professional athlete durability is every bit as important as ability.
No matter what profession you happen to be in you must know that skills don’t matter as much if your organization can’t count on you to be there when they need you.
Punctuality matters. Your ability to be on time affects people’s perception of you as a professional. Calling from your cell phone to say “you’re running late” is not a substitute for being on time.
Research shows that most people are terminated from jobs because of some sort of attitude problem. Chronic tardiness is not a time management problem, it isn’t a traffic problem, it isn’t a lack of sleep problem. It IS an attitude problem. Chronic tardiness projects either a “just don’t care” attitude or a “the rules don’t apply to me” attitude but either way it’s an attitude that you don’t want to be known for.
If you can be a few minutes late everyday then you can also be a few minutes early everyday.
You just have to decide that it’s about time to be more professional.