The value of punctuality: Why being late irritates Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Here’s some advice: if you ever find yourself booking a meeting with Richard Branson, be on time.

If you’re tardy you may find yourself on the Virgin founder’s bad side.

A seasoned businessman and entrepreneur, Branson is known for his quirks, but when it comes to punctuality he doesn’t mess around.

“There’s very little that annoys me in life, but people turning up late really does irritate me,” Branson wrote in a recent blog post.

Agree or disagree, there can be no denying that Branson practices what he preaches, as he went on to explain.

The entrepreneur has been photographed on several occasions running through the streets of London or New York to make meetings on time. Last year, he ran 15 blocks through New York’s summer to meet someone for an interview on climate change.

“We made it a few minutes before our slot. I was sweaty — but I wasn’t late,” Branson said.

The penchant for being on time stems from a lesson Branson’s father taught him when he was a teenager.

He had kept his father and friends waiting, and was pulled aside after showing up late to have the importance of valuing the time of others imprinted on him.

Branson said he hasn’t been late since — at least not when it was something he could control (bad traffic counts).

His advice if you find yourself running behind due to factors outside of your control? Call ahead, apologise.

“It shows you are serious, and it shows you are organised. But, most importantly, it shows you are respectful of other people’s time and their value,” he said.

It’s a philosophy for business — and good airline management.

NOW READ: Space race: Richard Branson in astronaut training ahead of first flight

NOW READ: Richard Branson on the best way to frame a question

You can help keep SmartCompany free for everyone to read

Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.

That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.

Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany Supporter.

Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.

And it’s not all one-way traffic either. SmartCompany Super Supporters get to dial into our monthly editor’s meeting and attend a monthly, invite-only webinar with a big-name entrepreneur.