BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Managing unintentional lateness

l watch a politician arrive late for an event and he/she is holding up proceedings. He/she is doing one or two things. Either imagining he/she is at a rally and therefore proceeding to wave at everyone at the event, pumping hands and taking selfies or he/she is holding a consultation. These two activities can hold up proceedings for up to 15 minutes.

Being late is not an option for me and when I am running late due to extraneous circumstances I try to address the matter quickly.

This is because aside from being a role model of sorts, I also teach time management at our training center.

For the longest, my father drilled it in our heads that being late immediately sets you apart as unserious or frivolous. It also makes one inefficient. So I would often arrive an hour ahead if I had a task and also at least 15 minutes before start time if I was a guest. Add that to the fact that I worked for years on Television and a lot of the news telecasts were live. It was unacceptable for a scheduled Newscaster to be late or even fail to turn up. So time has always been a resource I manage well. It speaks volumes about you.

In my last service position, my staff could not understand why I would arrive 10 minutes ahead of them if I were chairing a meeting. It is not only to set the tone but to set an example. If you arrived 15 minutes after I was certain you are 5 minutes late and 20 minutes after me you are ten minutes late which is intolerable. If you are prompt and keep the time, they say you are Oyibo as if those countries where Oyibos reside are not doing better than us. But we literally insult our forebears when we celebrate African time. Our grandfathers and grandmothers went to the farm at the cracking of dawn and kept good time.

But we? It’s a tragedy. Everyone knows how sloppy we are when it comes to time.

But for those of us who feel embarrassed when we are late to an event due to many things unrelated to our time discipline; like a late driver, a sick relative or an unexpected go slow, we must devise ways to mitigate what would otherwise make us look bad.

So here are some of the things one must do if one is unintentionally late.

First, call those who invited you and inform them of your challenges.

Then you must now get the route to where you are going right. If you are late and lost that’s a major disaster. Because you get nervous and take all the wrong turns if you are driving. If someone else is, a driver or a friend you become irritable and confuse them. The best advice is to find out where the venue is the day before. It saves you all the stress the following day.

If you are a speaker at the event send an observer ahead who will monitor the event and keep you posted. Ensure the organisers tell the participants you are running late but you have called. In your speech, make sure to apologise again adducing it to whatever was the reason, a late driver or a sick relative. Be honest. People identify with the truth.

Another tip is not to go and sit in front if you are already late. Sit in the back and let them reseat you appropriately at an opportune time. Stay humble and all will go well.

Overall if you are not a habitual late comer, all should go well.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.