This article is part of the series


Chief Executives' Plea: Don't Be Late!


So I’m at another CEO Forum – yea, I go to a lot of these things – and once again the subject of finding qualified workers comes up. But the latest news wrinkle this night is Rupert Murdoch’s admonition in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, bemoaning the lack of immigration reform.

“If we are serious about advancing our economic future and about creating job growth here in America,” Murdoch wrote, “then we must realize that it is suicidal to suggest closing our doors to the world’s entrepreneurs, or worse, to continue with large-scale deportations.”

Continue Reading Below

Most of the top executives this night agreed. We are losing top talent, and as one put it, “all but chasing them away.” But ironically it wasn’t the loss of top tier talent that is vexing them these days. Few expressed overwhelming concern for finding the best engineers or programmers – two professions that apparently are in very high demand, by the way.

No, these guys weren’t worrying about finding the best and the brightest – just good job candidates who knew how to read a clock! Put another way, they weren’t worried about the need for immigration reform running out of time -- they were worried about finding workers who could appreciate the value of being on time.

Maybe given their Type-A personalities, all of these executives said this was a primary beef in their day-to-day business dealings – people who showed up late to those dealings.

“It’s selfish,” said one company boss. “Time isn’t just money, it’s a priceless commodity in and of itself.”

Still another lamented over the lack of respect it shows when a worker, or even prospective worker, shows up late – to a meeting, or especially a job interview. One executive told me about one interviewee who didn’t even bother to explain her tardiness, so he told his secretary to not even explain his not seeing her.

Wow, talk about tough. But talk about revealing, too. Besides some of the more obvious no-no’s in corporate etiquette, such as a firm handshake and good eye contact, leave it to some of the mightiest bosses in America to say all that takes a back seat to just getting to the darn meeting!

It makes sense, of course, but up until this night, I had no idea it was such a big issue, or apparently getting to be such a big problem. Each CEO had a different story to tell about how tardiness is creeping into our culture – ironically when we are loaded with devices and technology that would seemingly eradicate the problem in today’s culture. Not so, if anything, all these gadgets have distracted us. We’re so busy pointing and clicking and texting and emailing, that we are forgetting where we physically have to be.

“It’s insulting,” said one pharmaceutical executive. It tells me right off that bat that person is off, period – off on his timing and off on his thinking.”

Another employer called it a revealing trait, and not a very positive one at that.

So, word to the wise: watch the clock. Because God knows your boss is.

What do you think?

Click the button below to comment on this article.