Chapter 15. Promptness Matters: Begin and End Meetings on Time

A middle-aged Chinese executive is due at a meeting in Beijing. Delayed by a traffic jam, he repeatedly looks at his watch. Finally, he jumps out of his taxi and runs the last few blocks, dodging pedestrians, cars, and bikes. When he arrives at the meeting, sweaty and disheveled, he is horrified to see that he is 3 minutes late. Apologizing profusely, he takes his seat.

The meaning of “punctuality” differs enormously in different parts of the world. For this businessman it was a requirement to be at his meeting on the dot. For most Americans, it would be perfectly acceptable to be 5 or 10 minutes late. Nevertheless, wherever we are in the world, thinking in terms of the scheduled time ...

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