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Time and You 45 If we go back to the raw data of what happened, all we can say for certain is that seven people gathered around a table at 9:00 and one person arrived at 9:15. That's it. But we made it mean some- thing else: ``Leslie isn't committed; you can't trust her; she's not reliable; she's not a team member; and we're not going to assign her work.'' Now, if we said to Leslie, ``We agreed to meet at nine and you arrived at 9:15. What happened?'' and she said, ``Oh, my car broke down on my way to the train station and I had to get it towed,'' we might assign an entirely different meaning to Leslie's lateness, which would change the nature of our interaction. As human beings, we cannot help but take trips up the Ladder of Inference. What we can do is notice when we have climbed the ladder and confused our assumptions for truth. Whenever we use the verb ``is'' to define a person's actions--``Leslie is late; she is not taking this meeting seriously''--we have made an assumption about a specific set of data. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with making this assumption; however, it may be that the assumption we made is far from accurate about the actual situation. It's easy to draw an unfavorable conclusion about people who have time preferences that are different from our own. But doing so can impede our effectiveness. To be effective and productive, both personally and organizationally, we need to embrace the con- tributions offered by both polychronic and monochronic time orien- tations. TIME SIGNATURES Once, during a radio interview, the highly acclaimed British soul- pop singer Seal described how he creates music. ``I like to use differ- ent types of time signatures when I write,'' he said. On a sheet of music, a time signature consists of a pair of num- bers (such as ``4/4,'' but written one number over the other without a fraction line) that appears near the beginning of a musical staff