When it comes to personal branding, time keeping could be one of the most critical components. Don’t kid yourself. Arriving late might pre-brand you as slovenly and off purpose.

And then there are those who fail to show up at all! Usually this type is too embarrassed to face the consequences and make it worse by not even calling to apologise. These category of souls are the most toxic and are best remembered for becoming aggressive if confronted and attempting to turn their tardiness into something you did.

It is quite distressing to watch people unknowingly trash their brands. As a coach I am tempted to send the an encouraging email pointing out the impact such poor time keeping has on their professionalism but I doubt it would be well received.

The thing is that unreliability is a character trait that is never valued. Predictably you can bang eggs that, if a person reveals their disregard for time, they will continue to repeat this behaviour in the future. The end result is that they will be disregarded and pushed out.

Of course, one cannot be silly about it. Sometimes people have genuine reasons why they have been unable to be on time (or arrive at all) and reasonability rules the day.

I, for one, like to believe in being quite gracious with people. I give a lot of latitude. But most executives are more than intolerant.

Then there are those who cancel at the last minute. Picture the scene – you have arranged your time and your mind-set to meet with them and then, poof, it ain’t going to happen. It’s too late to re-arrange your diary so you sit with this gaping chasm frustrated that you could have used the time constructively elsewhere!

Even cancelling a booked appointment should be thought about carefully and only done in extreme cases. Unless you have a close relationship with the person concerned, you leave yourself open to speculation about your credibility and your excuse will not be believed. Expect a cold shoulder if you manage to get in front of them again!

I sometimes wonder how people relate to the impact of messing others around. Here are a few consequences to consider:

  1. Waiting: Late arrivers are frustratingly problematic. They create anxiety and discomfort. When someone blocks off time to meet with you they usually have put other matters on hold. It might be something as simple as taking a run to the store to get provisions. Your poor time-keeping becomes a serious annoyance.
  2. Preparation: Often the person has done some preparation for the meeting. Your arriving late or not at all is multiplier in squandered time as they will need to redo the preparation before they meet with you the next time.
  3. Disrespect: Messing with another persons time is disrespectful. It is rude and bad manners.
  4. Risking the relationship: Every time you mess with other people’s time you are hacking away at their patience. Don’t be surprised if one day they simply refuse to meet with you at all. Your trust scorecard gets eroded each time you fail to stick to a commitment. And excuses start to become thin and unbelieved. Eventually the person will walk away.

I’m sure you can think if a few more. The thing is that messing with other peoples time is more expensive than it might first appear. And the price? Your personal brand!

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