Five minutes ago I got this text message from our Operations Pastor at Revive Church:
We have these conversations more times than I'd care to admit. Over and over businesses set a time to arrive at our facility, and over and over they are late. The picture above lists a time of 11:30 AM. Guess what time this company told us they would arrive. 11:00 AM.
Did they call to let us know they'd be late? No.
Did they text maybe? No.
Did they email at least? No.
No communication. No warning. Nothing. They'll show up when they want to, and one of two scenarios will happen:
1. They'll act like nothing is wrong.
2. They'll flippantly apologize with a Oh, sorry we're running late. Ran into a big job earlier that went later than expected. Which roughly translated means, We got hungry so we stopped at Burger King for half price whoppers after we finished our last job 30 minutes early, then scrolled through Instagram on our phones for another 45 minutes before we realized what time it was.
Every day this happens. People are late. And, they always say the same thing...SORRY I'M LATE. But, you aren't sorry at all. Because you keep doing it. Why do you do it? Get ready for this.
YOU DO NOT VALUE TRUST.
You might have expected me to say that you just don't care. But, that's not true. You care. There's a part of you that knows it's wrong. You just didn't know why. It's because you do not value trust.
Trust is a delicate thing. It's like a spider's web. It's intricately designed to withhold its structure under the right amount of weight and tension. Only those who build the web can navigate it. If the wrong creature touches the web they either damage the web itself, or they never have the chance to come back to the web again.
Every time you're late, you're like the giant hand that swats the web. You destroy the trust that was being built.
The good news is, there is a way to rebuild it or repair it.
1. Stop being late.
Use your digital calendar. Set alarms and alerts. Just stop being late.
2. Build margin into your schedule.
If you know your first appointment is at 8am and it's a 20-minute drive, don't wake up at 7:30am and think you'll get there on time.
When you're scheduling your next appointment, think how long your previous appointment will take (or set a time limit for it) and check how long the drive is to the next location before confirming a time. Then, add 10-15 minutes. Here's an example:
First appointment: 8am
Work time: 60-75 minutes (9am-9:15am)
Drive time to next appointment: 30 minutes (9:30am-9:45am)
Margin: 15 minutes (9:45am-10am)
So, you would offer to arrive between 9:45am-10am. That gives you a 15-minute window in case there is traffic, or other extenuating circumstances take place.
And, now, for the big one.
3. If you will be late, be honest, apologize, and rebuild trust WAY BEFORE you arrive.
Here's how our situation should have gone with this company:
They were supposed to arrive at 11am.
They should have called at 10:30am (estimated leave time from previous appointment) to let us know they would not arrive at 11am because they ran into a problem with their current project, apologize, and offer to pick up something from Starbucks on the way to make up for it. And, depending on our wait, even add an additional 5% discount off of their work if we end up using them.
Would that have made everything better? No. However, it would have allowed trust to be rebuilt.
When you value trust, you value others' time. When you value trust, you honor your commitments. When you value trust, and you break it, you do what's necessary to rebuild it.
Now, while I was writing this blog post, the unexpected played out, and it's worse than I could have imagined. It wasn't one of my two scenarios. It was the third one.
Do I know if this is something that happens often, or if this is a one-off? I don't. Do I know if he's telling the truth? I don't. Did he offer to rectify the situation quickly? He didn't.
And with the project we are looking to do, I cannot risk that this will be a recurring occasion.
In other words, they don't value trust like we do. If they did, there would be an effort to rebuild it. Since there isn't, there won't be a relationship moving forward.