Years ago, Steve McClatchy worked at a company that put him in charge of getting everyone to show up on time for a weekly meeting. His job was to set the agenda, lead the meeting and assign project teams.
But there was one problem: Few treated the meetings seriously. Employees routinely found excuses not to attend or to arrive late and disrupt the discussion.
McClatchy needed to find a way to get staffers in their seats on time. So one week, he secretly noted the precise time that each person walked through the door. He didn’t let anyone know what he was doing.
At the next meeting, he began precisely at 10:00 a.m. by showing a slide listing each employee’s name along with the time he or she arrived the previous week. He left the slide on the screen for only a few seconds and didn’t say a word.
Many people hadn’t arrived yet, so they missed seeing the slide. But those attendees who arrived on time got the point—and they knew McClatchy intended to send a message.
After the meeting, everyone talked about “the slide.” Word spread that McClatchy cared about punctuality.
A week later, everyone was ready to start at 10:00 a.m. sharp. Many people even showed up early.
As a result, the entire meeting lasted only 20 minutes. With everyone on time, McClatchy could advance through the agenda more quickly without stopping to integrate latecomers into the proceedings.
— Adapted from Decide, Steve McClatchy, John Wiley & Sons.