Are you generating mistrust?
Are you generating mistrust?
Are you always running late for meetings? Business or social. If so you could be generating mistrust in the minds of people who are important to you.
In our society, everyone seems to be rushing from one point to the next. What is the impact on your relationships? How can you build simple habits to improve your trustworthiness?
Integrity is a word that seems to carry different meanings to different people. In this post, I will simply ask you to consider that if you have agreed to meet someone at a certain time and place and if you are not there exactly on time you have no integrity on that occasion. As such you are generating mistrust.
Is that a bit strong? Maybe, but it depends on how you define the words integrity and mistrust. If you take it to mean that you always keep your word on everything you say, including timekeeping, then it’s not strong at all.
A little story might help illustrate this.
Many years ago when my daughter was just leaving school, we agreed on a meeting at my office at 11 am to review her university application. She strolled in 15 minutes late, which bearing in mind, it is one minute’s walk to my office from our home, was not a great start. When I challenged her on the time she got agitated and said: “It’s only 15 minutes – why do you have to be so uptight about it?” I bit my tongue and said, “don’t worry we can discuss it later”.
A few days later I catch 30 minutes with her to discuss the issue of timekeeping and its importance.
I start off with – “You are going to your prom night next week, and you need your brand new dress turning up a few inches. The only person you trust to do it properly is your grandmother who lives 15 minutes’ drive away. However, she can only do the job on the day of the prom itself. You are working all day in your Saturday job that day and cannot get out early enough to pick it up yourself. Therefore, you need one of your friends to do it for you, but as you are working, you cannot remind them on the actual day.
Ok – So make a list of all your friends and then put them in order of who you are going to rely on to pick up the dress for you. Remember, if it’s not done – that’s your prom night ruined!
Why are they in that order?
What makes this person at the top of the list and why is that person at the bottom?
No surprise – It turns out that she judges (as we all do every day) who is reliable by how well they keep their word on many previous occasions. Even tiny little lies, failure to keep promises and continual lateness for agreed meetings have an impact.
I then ask her:
- Where are you on other people’s lists?
- Where do you want to be?
- What do you need to do to ensure you are considered trustworthy?
I would challenge you with the same exercise yourself, and you will probably come to the same conclusion. Keeping your promises count and being on time is a promise made but frequently not kept – especially socially.
People are always and continuously judging you on lots of different criteria. Is trust very high on the list of criteria they use to form an overall opinion of you?
Next time you are late for anything or in keeping a promise, consider you just lost points on the trustworthy scale that everyone keeps in their heads – even if they do not realise it.
How can you ensure you nearly always on time for meetings?
- Ensure all meeting times (including phone meetings both personal and business) are entered into your smartphone and simply set a reminder alarm.
- Ideally set 2 alarms within 10 minutes of each other
- At the start of every week, look at all your appointments and ensure timely alarms are set for each appointment or phone call. (Tip – set a weekly alarm for Monday morning to remind you to set all other alarms)
What is timely?
Just work out the journey time and add 30% to determine the time to leave.
You will normally arrive in plenty of time and better still the journey will be stress-free. Imagine letting other drivers through or strolling along enjoying the rain, rather than running. As you arrive early, you can always chat with other early birds (other stress-free and organised people) or make a quick phone call to someone.
A little side story
A very good friend invited us to a BBQ at his house, and I called him a couple of days beforehand and asked the time to arrive. He said about 2 p.m., so I said OK, see you between 2 and 2.15 pm. For various silly reasons we left a bit late and also go lost on the way and so arrived at about 2.50 instead. (Interestingly there was only one other guest there, and we considered ourselves late).
Later on in the day knowing I had raised the question of timekeeping before, my host teased me by raising the fact I was late. My point is that when you raise these things with other people, they then hold you to a higher standard which is a GOOD thing. Knowing this in the back of your mind means you are likely to put more effort into making sure you are always on time, thus building your trustworthiness.
As you start to use this system and so inevitably almost always arrive early, will notice how many people are always late or rushing around or driving like idiots. Far too much stress! – just because they did not have a personal reminder alarm system that works?
I urge you to build a reputation of trustworthiness and get the icing on the cake of significantly reduced stress in your life.
Set alarms to arrive early and build trust – it’s just a habit.
Enjoy the journey
P.S My daughter is very punctual as a habit these days.
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