Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Discouraging Tardiness in Social Circles

What's the best way, if any, to incentivize punctuality in a social setting i.e. among friends and family? Alternately, is there any way to dis-incentivize/discourage impunctuality?

In professional environments this isn't usually a problem. There is generally one party which has some form of authority (the boss running a meeting, the doctor who is so booked up that you got an appointment only after months, the VP who can only meet for 20 minutes before he has to run to another meeting, the senior engineer whose time really is more precious than yours) who sets an example that is expected to be followed, and can dangle a carrot or wield a stick to manage tardiness. There is also a personal incentive to be on time - you want to make a good first impression, not appear to be the one holding the team behind, or not miss out on something important if you're late.

The social dynamics that exist among friends and family are vastly different though. Often times, no one person holds a position of authority over another, the 'meetings' aren't usually that important and outcasting the offenders as a group isn't really an option either. Hence the repercussions of tardiness are pretty mild, if any. In many ways, the punctual folk have more to lose.

The ideal solution wouldn't make any individual or sub-group appear to be 'jerks' and yet make each member of the group want to be punctual. Poking fun at the offenders or just generally being prudish isn't going to help, I think.

So, any ideas? I'm drawing blanks...

1 comment:

Eugene T.S. Wong said...

I'm drawing blanks, too. I must admit, though, I'm usually the late person in the group.

That being said, I think that it has to do with habits. I think that it will require a cultural shift.