It’s Monday, 9:30am and the vast majority of the employees are already gathered in the office and everyone is waiting for the Creative Director to arrive. People are looking at their watches, it’s 9:45am and there’s still no sign of the leader of the meeting.

Do you start? Do you wait? Do you dread this is going to be another wasted morning where the meeting won’t start? Does this sound like your workplace?

Sometimes the process is at fault; most often than not, disruptive people bring meetings to a grinding halt. Here are the reasons why most people dread that Monday morning status meeting:

If you called the meeting, do your %*?@?! job

If you’re the one running the meeting, it’s imperative that you arrive on time. You don’t want to waste anyone else’s time by not being punctual. If you don’t take the start time seriously, people will start showing up later and later, wasting more and more of the punctual participants’ time.

Meetings that never started on time disrupt employees’ day, they often have to be reminded there’s a meeting, it takes up an hour of their morning and then their productivity is out the door because they can’t get into a project before the meeting. Time is expensive and pulling people together for any period of time with a weak focus costs organizations an insane amount of productivity and money.

Just a couple more minutes

“We’ll give just a few more minutes for those that are running late.” Ever heard that one? It pains to see 10 people waiting 15 minutes for one or two other people who’re late. It’s particularly frustrating when these individuals are the same people who’re late every time.

Also, when some people are habitually late, other participants start thinking “hey, meetings never start on time anyway; I’ll drop in ten minutes late.” It’s a downward slide from there. Waiting for them only teaches them that it’s OK to be late.

The ego

Watch the behavior of the senior person on a team. Most meetings don’t start until they arrive and people know it. If the VIP is never late, no one else will be either. If the VIP is always 15 minutes behind, everyone else will follow.

Company leaders set the meeting culture and if they are always late, this cascades a culture of “late is OK.” There’s literally nothing can be done until the culture changes – and that has to come from the top down.

Always postpone meetings for time-wasting morons

Shuffling in at 9:30, hustling in at 9:40 with a cup of coffee, apologising at 9:45 for being late and then requesting to postpone the meeting to tomorrow or the day after because it’s now way past beyond the time originally set for a meeting. If the meeting always gets postponed to the next day to get everyone to settle in, pick a better time.

The hardest part about scheduling meetings isn’t really finding the time when everyone involved will be bright-eyed rather than half-asleep. It’s finding a time when everyone can actually attend. If your team members are arriving at 9:30am, don’t set a meeting at 9:30 sharp. Move it to 10:00 instead.

The employees who have been following the rules all along have routinely been paying the price for those that are not. The meeting that never started on time supplants a time you would have been motivated to start something big. Start regardless of who is there, if you implement this, it will very quickly become apparent to attendees that the 9:30 meeting is not the 9:45 meeting.


What is the meeting culture like at your workplace? Are your meetings guilty of starting late?

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