Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Does Tardiness Indicate a Lack of Integrity?

New York Times reporter Katherine Rosman relays this story from her interview with the founder of Lululemon:

I was 15 minutes late by the time I arrived, disheveled and apologetic. Mr. Wilson was seated with eight young women at a square table set for 10.

He is an imposing figure, 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a large head shaved bald and the scruff of a beard. He stood and helped me off with my parka, an old-fashioned gentleman.

When he rejoined his guests, all employed by Kit and Ace, he asked a question: what would happen if he were to arrive, say, 15 minutes late to a design meeting?

If he were 15 minutes late to such a meeting, he went on to explain, the designers might get the idea that it’s acceptable to deliver to the production department a bit past deadline. Then? The product would arrive late at the stores, which could lead to items ending up on the clearance rack.

“If we’re selling the product at a discount,” he said, “there is less money to market the product. If there is less money to market the product, then a different type of customer than the one we’re seeking will come into the store. There will be less money to put into the product’s quality and, ultimately, less profit. The whole system falls apart” ...

“Now we know,” Mr. Wilson added, “that when we have breakfast with Katie, we don’t really have to be there when we say we will be there.”