Only Zero Tolerance can prevent Unpunctuality!

The first session of a Management Training Programme had just ended at 12.30 pm. Dr. Prasad, the Programme Faculty, announced that the next session would start as per the original schedule at 2.00 pm. The participants, all engineers, MBAs or Chartered Accountants with 10 to 15 years’ work experience, dispersed for lunch. All of them had been sponsored by their respective employers for the 4-days programme at a 5 Star Holiday Resort.

When some of the participants returned at 1.55 pm, Dr. Prasad was already present. At exactly 2.00 pm, he started his presentation. When one of the participants pointed out that only 11 of the 40 participants were present, Dr. Prasad ignored him and continued with his presentation. At about 2.05 pm, participants started walking in. The last participant entered at about 2.10 pm. Dr. Prasad continued with his presentation without a second glance at the latecomers walking in.

At the conclusion of the session at 4.00 pm, Dr. Prasad announced, “The next session will start at 4.40 pm. Of course, you are free to come back at any time according to your convenience.”

All 40 participants reported on time for all the remaining sessions of the Training Programme!

In the last session, Dr. Prasad described to the participants how, till a few years earlier, he would start the training sessions late, only after all, or almost all participants were present. His repeated requests to participants to report on time yielded little or no result. One day, in a fit of frustration, he started a training session on time even though very few of the participants were present. At the end of that session, he simply announced, “Time and tide, and I wait for no man!” He found that this approach solved the unpunctuality problem, and continued using it in all future training programmes.

Do you agree that only Zero Tolerance can prevent Unpunctuality?