We’ve Been Waiting For You
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~ Woody Allen
“I make 50 cents for showing up…and the other 50 cents is based on my performance.” ~Steve Jobs
Are you showing up? The famous Woody Allen quote makes showing up a no-brainer decision. All you have to do is to schedule an appointment, a meeting, a call and be there. Even for Steve Jobs, he suggests everyone (including him) earns half of their worth simply by showing up for a scheduled event. Where do your thoughts go when you schedule a meeting, then reschedule, then reschedule once again and the rescheduling is always necessary because of the same person? Perhaps this kind of incident makes you reevaluate your own history of showing up.
Consider the value of showing up and the opportunities you lose when you are not there. In my professional world of working with younger leadership, I’ve seen more often the Millennials not showing up, rather than the more seasoned or the newest generation to the workforce, the Gen Z’s. From what I’ve gathered, the consequences from not showing up may not have been on their radar.
During Covid19 when you’re juggling personal and professional, scheduling may not be as easy as pre-pandemic times. Although if you don’t have to travel, you’re saving time. Regardless, if you commit to a scheduled call, your intention is you are going to be there unless an emergency comes up. And roughly, you will be there on time, give or take a few minutes.
What actually happens when you commit to a call, meeting, appointment and don’t show up? If you arrive a few minutes late, most people are understanding, particularly now. And after 15 minutes, it’s assumed you will not be there. An individual or a group may give you two strikes or two attempts, especially if you explain why you couldn’t attend a given event. If a pattern keeps happening, however, people will not offer endless compassion.
Not being perfectly on time is not what I’m talking about. I had a former boyfriend who grew up in Germany and he wouldn’t give you a few minutes leeway. He stuck to the absolute time; any minute after was late for him and would make him angry and dismissive. Our partnership was doomed from the start. Most committees, bosses and friends are more forgiving and understand that stuff happens.
What are you indicating when you don’t show up at all on a consistent basis? You may have the best intentions; however, you are revealing something by your actions. Those you are meeting could read that any number of ways depending on their patience, understanding, and level of dependency on you. You’re unorganized and are in need of a better planning system. You’re irresponsible. The meeting or event is not a priority for you. The people you are meeting are not of value to you. Something may be wrong emotionally, physically, or with your childcare/eldercare and you owe it to yourself to take time, admit it and then think through steps to problem-solve.
How about if you are in sales where appointments are your meat and potatoes and you make appointments and don’t keep to them? What rationale do your company and boss have for keeping you in that job knowing that honoring appointments is an essential part of making sales and customer service? How does it reflect on you?
Seasoned professionals understand repercussions to not showing up or being late consistently as they’ve had years of experience. In my executive search career, running volunteer professional committees and trying to buy services I’ve experienced a number of younger professionals who have been lax about showing up for meetings and calls even when they initiate them (including sending the Zoom link). I realize they may not have been held accountable as much in their lives yet.
As a leader you may have to set ground rules and teach younger talent. This includes informing them of who their tardiness affects and how it affects them when they don’t show up or are exceptionally late. Also, how it affects the younger talent themselves, with a potential loss of respect, additional responsibility, a potential promotion, credibility, amiability. And beyond that, actually hold them accountable – truth or consequences. That will only serve them as a lesson as they grow into their professional careers. They may not be happy about it because it curbs their independence and style, however, in the longer term it will enable them to be more effective and models how to step into a leadership position.
We’re all attempting to get things done and we rely on each other to do that. If you find yourself continuously late or unable to make certain commitments, ask yourself why. Does the project matter? Is this a commitment you should not have made? Are you having consistent challenges which are not going away and need to be addressed such as mental or physical health or that of loved ones?
And if you are in a position to hold someone accountable for unreliable behavior, communicate that to them and explain why it matters. Try not to make assumptions beforehand; let them speak. Chances are that person may have questions for you, may admit to challenges in their life or may simply not be that interested which gives you important feedback. Then, you’ll have options of where to go from there.
“Hello, there. We’ve been waiting for you. Time to play Truth or Consequences.” ~ Ralph Edwards
The world needs more leaders who care about showing up as the best version of themselves.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
And, if you have team members who aren’t showing up and you are not sure how to manage it, talk to me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com