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  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

Answering the Bell

The Start is flat out important in business. Some businesses have defined starting times that the crew is expected to arrive. The classic “9 to 5” has generally been replaced by an 8am start. Many technology businesses do not have defined hours, and many celebrate odd hours all together like the all-nighter. People may even wander into the office at 10:30 and it’s the norm.

To be clear….

The clock, face time, and overall hours spent is certainly not as important as how you USE those hours.

Having said that……….I will present one of the business world’s great examples of ANKLE WEIGHTS

ANSWERING THE BELL: The ability to show up, consistently and on-time. No exceptions.

I’m sure this sounds Old School and a given, the “ability to show up.” YES. And NO.

Leaders are human beings. They make split second opinions (positive, negative, neutral) that get shaped over time by real observation. Good leaders keep open minds as that narrative plays out and most are positively inclined to let that narrative be a good one. Nobody says it better than Woody….

2 Simple reasons Answering the bell is critical:

1) You may actually be needed @ the Start, a moment to play the game and help someone win….

It may be close to the START of the day. You are looking for something critical, and turn to one of your team members for help, guidance, or a simple question. You go to their office or pick up the phone. They aren’t there, not because they were tied up, but because they didn’t answer the bell. It happens to everyone….

2) Like it or not, most people DO. NOT answering the bell creates a negative point of difference.

Life happens. Traffic jams. Buses not showing up. The 6 year old throws a fit and drags their feet. Dog ate your car keys. The list goes on. There is no need to beat yourself up over life happening.

Just don’t make “life happening” self-imposed. Not answering the bell because of a late night on the town? Playing with fire.

Some people simply struggle with answering the bell and are consistently inconsistent. Some are never compromised by it. It’s a fascinating dynamic in business how some people lie on either side of the fence.

Yes, some people have easier dynamics in their personal life (kid drop off/pick up duty) than other’s. Good leaders filter through that and understand that “life happening” does not apply to all in the same context. Get beyond that, put them all on a balanced playing field, and there will still be differences. And without sponsoring a federal government study on something we already know…..

Those that consistently answer the bell will always be 2 steps ahead of those that do not.

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