Getting Bumped

Yeah Right!

Got that important meeting lined up for later.

Sorted your day out, jobs done, head prepared.

Did the extra miles last night, canned some other opportunities in favour of this meeting.

It’s a biggie.

The phone rings, worse it’s an email or text.

“Can we reschedule, something important has cropped up?”

Actually, I’m not sure why that is a question, usually it is received as a demand, however gentle the delivery.

Why should people be upset at a re-scheduling?

Well, because they are people, and like to be treated as equal’s, and that means as equally important.

To blatantly deconstruct (Reframe) the original request:

“Fortunately something more important than you has come up so I’m going with the better option, and won’t be meeting with you as I said I would.”


“Yes fortunately. If it was unfortunately it would mean I was choosing to do something less important than being with you, that would be unfortunate for both of us, but this way it is fortunate for me (though unfortunate for you).”

(Insert whatever one or two syllable expletive you like at this stage)


I realise this isn’t the conversation which ensues. However I believe it is the essence of what happens inside many people when they get bumped.

They feel the emotion, and worse, they feel they shouldn’t be upset. And the deliverer of the message has little genuine emotion (and it seldom actually occurs to them that they should).

What I am trying to do with this post is reframe cancelling out.

I want to encourage people to get better at keeping contracts (appointments, meetings, coffee or lunch dates).

There is a lot of hidden relationship/ trust damage when you reschedule or cancel. This applies to co-workers, reports, bosses, children and partners, and of course friends.

Being sincere about the appointments you make and valuing them above all else is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and others.

8 Replies to “Getting Bumped”

  1. Richard,

    While reading your post I went through an evolution that went something like this. Excuses – There are some occasions when I need to reschedule an appointment. I began thinking of legitimate reasons to do so.

    About 1/2 way through the post I realized I need stop excusing and do what I say. Stick to my word.

    I hadn’t thought of rescheduling meetings as something connected to character but it can be.

    In the nicest way, you gave me a swift kick in the pants. Thank you.

    All the best,

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwll

    1. Anytime Dan – speaking of which it must be early a.m. for you. I’m not perfect at this either it takes a lot of discipline. I know there are exceptions. But not as many as we would like to think. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for dropping by. Best, Richard

  2. Cancel is better than rescheduling because it does not need any further preparation, When we reschedule, we either prepone or postpone. postpone is comfortable but prepone require you to work harder and be more prepared.When rescheduling is unavoidable, it is ok and generally does not discourage but when it is frequent then it becomes culture destroyer,and de motivates people, creates mistrust and ultimately organization suffers and it is often termed as leadership failure.

    1. Thank You Ajay and welcome. I agree the frequency factor needs to be taken account of. Cancelling is a good point too – for dinner appointments etc. If someone says let’s get together for coffee/dinner whatever – I say “When, let’s set a date? either we are going to do it or not. Thanks again, Richard
      Also I like the pre-pone phrase, that’s new to me , but I understand exactly what you are saying. Thank you.

  3. Interesting subject. I think technology has an intersect with all of this. The advent of sms, message bank and email has certainly changed the landscape we operate in! There is still plenty of mileage in doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.I would consider that behavioural trait a competitive advantage !

    1. Thanks Jim, that’s a great addition to this post. I hadn’t considered the influence of technology (other than not using email for bad news). Yes I think it is a competitive advantage and for those that choose to ignore it i think they miss how much better it may work for them. Regards Richard

  4. Slightly uncomfortable subject to be honest, and one my wife called me on just last week! My question is are the subtleties different when I’m forced to reschedule because someone more senior has demanded my presence. I live inside a corporate so its not always within my control.

    1. Hi Craig and welcome back.I won’t go into marital advice but I will comment onthe senior/boss thing.:) Yes it’s tricky though I beleive the correct thing to do is to be prepared to ‘negotiate’ in the first instance. I also had a rule that if it wasn’t in my electronic diary it was open slather, if it was then even my boss had to clear it with me first. It worked 9 times out of 10. I always had my calendar open for all staff. I’m pleased I’ve created some discomfort with this post, if i get more people thinking about these matters that’s a great outcome. Thanks again,

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