Why should everyone be punished by just a few who do not have the courtesy to others who have come here to learn by arriving on time? I will not have you here!
Professor Richard T. Bates
The lesson I learnt of being on time came many years ago while studying electrical engineering at Canterbury University. At the start of his first lecture to our class the lecturer, Professor Richard T. Bates, introduced himself and explained that in future everyone would arrive on time and be ready to receive his lecture.
As each student arrived late, he proceeded to give them a tongue lashing that they were late, disruptive, and inconsiderate to those who had arrived on time. He pointed out that if they wanted to have a future career in engineering then they would need to raise their standards and arrive on time. At the scheduled start time of the second lecture he instructed the lecture room doors to be locked preventing anyone else from entering. Today he would never have been permitted to lock the fire exits to the lecture theatre. However, back then things were different.
This was an important lesson for all of us young students. What I found most interesting was that everyone turned up on time to Professor Bates lectures even those who were notoriously late to every other lecture they attended while at engineering school. His lectures were some of the best I attended during my university days. When you have to lift your level of performance you can and even those who seem the least likely to do so, will.
Today I still prefer to travel the night before I am due to speak, run a training session, or facilitate a workshop. I often visualise a room with everyone expectantly waiting for me to arrive. This strong image is all I need to do whatever it takes to be ready and on time.
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