Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Inconsistencies at Being Consistent


It’s amazing how many times you can have two different experiences at the same place or with the same person? Unfortunately that is the reality…because it actually takes a lot of work to be consistent. And that makes the difference between good & great business (and leadership).
As an example, I recently had a delicious meal at a restaurant at Vancouver airport. So good that, on my next trip I went there again. Ordered the same thing. It was good but not nearly as remarkable as the first time. Same place. Same order. Different outcome.
That got me thinking about inconsistency and, more to the point, the inconsistencies at being consistent. And how that relates to leadership.
Real leaders are consistent leaders. What you get from them today will be consistent with what you get next week. Integrity is about being true to your principles but is also about being consistent.  Consistency builds trust; in your brand & in yourself.
Without a doubt, we all have good days and bad days. But, by and large, effective leaders are those who bring consistency to their vision, priorities and decisions. They aren’t Mother Teresa on Monday and Hannibal Lector by Tuesday.
Inconsistent leaders are a nightmare. You never know where they stand. Worse, they tend to flip-flop on decisions.  Which makes it difficult to follow & trust.
A few hints on being a more consistent leader:
  • Consistency requires a relentless focus on your leadership approach.  Encourage feedback and seek out best practices. Consistent leaders are conscious of their behaviour and reflective with that.
  • Understand where your leadership approach comes from.  Are you a servant leader or an ego-based leader?  Is it about you – or about your team?  Hint: it’s not about you.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  Consistent leadership needs discipline.  Flip-flopping to make a tough decision more popular will make you feel better in the moment but it can destroy trust and staff commitment. Always think about your leadership and how consistency makes a difference in being

Consistent inconsistency with restaurant food is one thing because you can always eat somewhere else - and that is why few restaurants (or businesses in general) can scale to multiple locations because of the complexity of the product & lack of systems that are directly related to an inconsistent experience. However, consistently inconsistent leadership is much more problematic and can have far reaching negative effects across an organization.

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