Iconic scene from “A Christmas Story” when Flick’s tongue is frozen to the pole and his buddies leave him there, struggling. As he’s begging for help that hopefully won’t result in his taste buds being ripped away, Ralphie says “But the bell rang!” and runs away.
Remember when it was vital that you be in place by the time the bell rang?
I always knew if I didn’t get to class on time, there were consequences. What the principal had in mind paled by comparison to what my imagination played out in excruiating detail was in store for me when I got home.
Maybe our offices need to go back to that way of thinking.
Let’s assume it’s an important meeting and not one of the countless “could have been a PDF or memo” meetings (don’t even get me going).
Start making everyone be on time, no excuses. Lock the door, leave them out. Do this enough and people will make it a priority to get there.
Same in the virtual world. Late? You don’t get let into the meeting.
Create consequences for their actions.
Harsh? Maybe. But why should everyone else waste time waiting on others? Why is THEIR time more important than OURS?
We all have things to do and reasons to miss meetings or be late, but it’s about prioritizing. If someone knows they won’t start the meeting without them, they have no urgency to get to it. If they know nothing will happen if they come in late, same thing.
Break them of that habit.
Get them back in the routine of consequences for their actions.
An office version of “But, the bell rang” should be the underlying motivator to be in your seat when the meeting starts.