IS THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG? Our Attitude towards Time.

By Samuel Lartey, Project Manager.

I am really concerned about the manner businesses are being run by business owners and management teams in recent times. This baffles me to ask if the tail is now wagging the dog in business management. This assertion came up when I had to miss out all the introductory sessions of a 3 Day International business conference I attended recently. I traveled with 4 other colleagues to attend this conference and on each day either one member was late or another has a reason for holding the team back. The sad side is that we were all lodged in the same hotel but just descending the hotel rooms to join the other team members in the reception area for the tam to journey with a hired taxi for 40mins to the conference area was the difficulty.

I kept asking myself how long this attitude towards time, work and business in the face of the new global challenges and customer sophistication, will continue and where it will lead us to? Can we grow our businesses with such attitude? No body seems to be concerned about the bad repercussions of this. This is what I describe as the tail wagging the dog.

I am still worried about how long our business leaders and individuals may be robbed by the carnage of this attitude towards time. Lateness is not frowned upon and service providers do not care to wait for their late counterparts. Why are we falling victims to this practice that will only ruin our businesses and service provision? Lateness to business gatherings, work places and meetings and most especially with our relationship with our valued customers is all welcome. It's being tolerated; business executives, leaders, management teams and staff are all victims but all see it as a normal action.

What is sad according to is the fact that the late comers are being made kings and lords-they are being honored by our event organizers and business leaders; customers tolerate them; leaders and events facilitators accept their lateness and consider their actions as normal in all instances-instead of making them suffer for their inimical actions which are very costly to the business, and our existence we rather make early entrants pay from their valued resources-time and cost. This action to me is another instance of the tail wagging the dog.

There has not been any time when these late comers have no excuses to support their lateness. Some even begin formulating their flimsy stories to tell when they are not yet late. They formulate interesting stories to tell in their rooms. And in all these formulation and initiating processes they will be found performing activities that are not required at that moment and time leaving them late. When called to explain their actions, they will have beautiful, well thought of explanations either blaming another person in the loop or pointing fingers at things. Sad enough our event organizers, programmers and meetings accept their excuses and allow them into the gathering without any form of reprimand. No body has the gut to scold their actions. This is another case of the tail is wagging the dog.

This does not only rob our business resources and time but also being made to pay extra costs that can easily be done away with. In the business environments, managements are cheerfully setting aside scarce business resources to cater for these negative attitudes. Some of these funds have been christened overtime costs. This cost line though may have genuine reasons for been in the financials of the business, some unscrupulous staff would not come into the offices early with various excuses and explanations -traffic, and ill health among others would stay late and claim these extra allowances.

At our meetings, colleagues are continuously bugged and interrupted with phone calls and sadly enough with high ringing tones and tunes. They walk out of the meetings, conferences and programmes to answer to these interruptions and will only return into the meetings to ask for a revisit, recap or rework on what has already been done by their unfortunate colleagues who chose to switch off their phones or decided to leave their phones out of the meetings and programmes.

Granted that a two or five minutes break is allowed for a stretch or for a dry break to usher in the next agenda item this time becomes an excellent time for people to sit and discuss the attitude of management members who refuse to sanction their previous overtime claims and medical bills. This to me is another example of the tail wagging the dog.

Customer service providers whose interest should be in attracting and retaining customers rather make scarce time abundant in discussing non-business related activities which would leave them run late their meeting and schedules. Another unfortunate act is, these walk into their meetings late and with no minutes and agenda's on hand. Oh dear! where are we heading to? Is the tail wagging the dog? And if so can we set things right immediately?

Let us begin to eradicate this negative attitude by evaluating ourselves. Self discipline. Doing things right, first time, and every time. And with the leads with forced migration. The leads, leaders, colleagues, and managers must be forcefully migrated onto the business critical success path. The enforcement of discipline of the self, and with a high premium on time in working hours, and in the work environments should be mandatory.

Secondly he said the mindset of urgency has got to flow through the business every hour of every day and it has got to be driven by the balance of service delivery and efficiency. In the past, every time efforts are made to instill this discipline, the attitude has been one of 'he is being too known; as if the business his fathers etc.?

We must begin to revere our colleagues who come in early- early comers- by start our meeting and programmes with them rather than waiting for the late comers. Team members must be made to understand the consequences of their actions and the need to transform so as to achieve the market leadership required.

Team leaders, supervisors, managers and executives must set themselves and others challenging and stretching targets and must be tough on time and costs. In addition we must recognize and praise high performance. We must take personal responsibility to fix things that are not right. We must all make it our business to get involved to make things work. We must never blame the business for performance shortfalls. But always talk about self and others as part of the business and the solution. We must all take decisions that are in the best interest of all and not just for our own area.

We do not want to see the tail wagging the dog, lets let the dog wag its tail.

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