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4 Ways To Get Your Team to Arrive on Time

arrive on time

How do we get the volunteer teams we lead to arrive on time?

I don’t know about you, but my experience has been (over the course of decades as a worship leader, pastor, and team leader), that getting people to show up to anything on time can be rocket science.

Some people are wired to be highly prepared, showing up early and getting all the details right. Other people are wired for playing life by ear, assuming that events will just happen when they ‘show up’!

How do you get everyone ready to go at the same time? How do you bring diverse types of people together to get the whole of the group seeing that your start time is important?

4 Ways To Get Your Team to Arrive on Time


Downbeat time is when you want your team ready to go.

In music, Downbeat Time means the moment we are hitting the first note of the music. In any team, it means the time we *start* doing our preparation for the meeting ahead.

In addition to using Downbeat Time as a starting tool, it also helps to tell people, “This is what time we will finish.” If you need to extend the time, you ask their permission, or welcome them to leave if they need to. It’s a basic honoring of people that is in play – and it goes a long way.

Even if honoring others with such explicit time communication is not natural to you, it is a new habit worth working into your life and leadership.


Simple as it sounds, we love to gather around food.

Most of us experience a release of endorphins in our brain when we hear someone is throwing a party (especially if we are hungry!).

Food feels like fellowship, it feels like happiness, it feels like community. Food feels like goodness, and provision, and kindness. Food draws us in, and makes us want to be somewhere.

Tell everyone you’ll be having some special food for them at an earlier time than you want to start, and it will help gather the troops closer to the time you desire.


If you say you’re going to start at 7… start right at 7.

If you do, this puts the onus is on the other person if they arrive late. If you always start late to accommodate those who fly by the seat of their pants, then you share the responsibility for starting late – and have no grounds on which to ask anyone to do anything differently.

Remember that some folks on your team work hard to arrive on time. You want to make them feel validated, right? In fact, you’d like them to keep being role models to the rest of us! Start on time consistently for those who really need you to do that. Others will get the message over time.


To make excuses hard, over-communicate with your team.

Don’t be non-communicative or sloppy in communication – and then wonder why people aren’t honoring your Downbeat Time! Be specific, be clear, and find ways to say the same thing in many different ways.

Over-communicate through email, Facebook, social media graphics, and any other tools your team uses. Do whatever it takes. Some people like a phone call or text.

If you see someone before the gathering, remind them what time you’re starting and that you’re looking forward to seeing them.

ACTION STEPS to help people arrive on time:

  • Try at least one idea for the next time you meet.
  • Start using the phrase, “Downbeat Time.” Tell everyone some food is waiting for them 15 minutes before the meeting.
  • Start on time consistently. Finally, make excuses hard for people by leading the way in being on time.
  • You may start to see a new culture emerge in your team.



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This article about how to get team members to arrive of time originally appeared here, and is used by permission.