Bob and Alex talk about the proposition that being late shouldn’t be seen as a fault, but rather as a sign of innate optimism. Bob recalls the song “Optimistic Thought” by Blues Traveller.
Alex produces a matrix of lateness. There are many factors that go into being late. One of these is the degree of how late you are. Some see ten minutes late to work as being a crime, while others don’t care. Bob and Alex tend to agree they they don’t care because they know the late employee is one who will be there going the distance late into the night to make something happen at the critical time.
Quote about being late
It has been put forth that people are hardwired to be late. At the root of this may be the idea that those people are late because they are trying to get more done. They can get more tasks done in the limited amount of time that they have. They are seen as “fundamentally hopeful”.
Bob confesses that even though is sees folks that are late in this way, he himself always strives to be on time. He aggravates his family with the concept of “Bob Time” with which he loads in inordinate amounts of extra time to get somewhere “just in case”.
Alex says the she personally is optimistic and hopeful by nature but that she is usually three to seven minutes late. She does say though that people that are intentionally late because they don;t care at all are not without blame here. She also mentions the cultural differences that exist where being late is even less critical.
Bob recounts a manager he worked for that was such a sticker for being on time that before his senior staff meeting he moved all the chairs that were not used out into the hall and locked the door. Any latecomers could not come in with out raising quite the ruckus.
There are also health factors that have been studied as directly related to optimism including length of life. Age, income level, education level and gender are all unrelated to the optimism of the individual.
Bob closes by encouraging leaders to shake off the idea that folks that are a few minutes late are uncaring while it may be a sign of optimism and creativity.
John Haltiwanger’s article on tardiness and optimism can be found here.