In a world of overload – information overload, option overload, and overload overload – there are very few things that set organizations apart from one another. Decision making about where we will shop, eat, and even worship is becoming more and more difficult. Who has the best deal? Where did I have the best experience the last time I was there? Which comes the most recommended by my friends?
The decisions can be difficult and confusing.
I believe that those organizations that will survive and thrive have, as their foundation, one principle that helps them succeed and differentiate themselves. A principle that takes years to perfect and only moments to lose. The one principle that will launch a business from mediocre to phenomenal. What is it?
I remember my days in the restaurant business. Consistency was the main goal of our business. Being consistently good, that is. If I go to the restaurant today and order a steak, it will be prepared exactly like it was when I ordered it weeks and even months ago. The service will be every bit as good as it was back “then.” The overall experience that I have will be good from the moment I walk through the doors until I leave at the end of my meal.
You see, consistency was vital before us – mostly because we wanted people (customers) to know exactly what to expect every time they came to our restaurant. And, if that experience was good, they would choose to come to our place more often than they choose to go to our competitor’s place. And it boiled down to them knowing what they would get every time they stepped through our doors.
The same is true in every organization. Consistency is a foundational key to finding success in today’s “overloaded” culture. We must find ways to be more consistent so that the people that come to us can know what to expect and can feel comfortable enough to invite their friends and family to come along with them.
So, as a leader, here are 5 ways to know if your team is inconsistent:
- You’re putting out fires instead of building bridges. If you find yourself regularly having to address crises rather than spending time with customers/people, then you have a team that is inconsistent. The leader of the organization/church/ministry should not be running around addressing issues – but should be meeting people and getting to know those that your organization is reaching.
- You’re reacting instead of being proactive. If you are having to react to things and circumstances rather than having things in place to give people the best experience in your organization, you are leading an inconsistent team. Leaders should have things in place that anticipate needs and concerns so that when they happen, they don’t become a distraction from the mission.
- You’re responding to criticism rather than compliments. Inconsistency often brings with it criticism. Critics wait for an organization to fail and then they jump on it. And, if you’re a person who finds that your time is monopolized by responding to criticism, you have a consistency problem. A consistent organization, on the other hand, finds that it has raving fans. Think of the best places that you do business with – are they consistent? If so, you are probably quick to recommend them to your friends and tell everyone what a great job they do.
- You’re doing the work rather than leading the work. Leaders of inconsistent organizations can find that they have to spend a lot of their time interacting with the day-to-day. These leaders are entrenched in operational inefficiencies and, because of it, are handicapped in their ability to lead the organization well. They find that they can’t get out of the weeds long enough to think about the direction of the organization or make strategic moves to make the team better.
- You’re focused on tasks and systems rather than vision. Don’t get me wrong, every leader needs to spend time on tasks and systems. But, once they are set, the leader should be able to delegate the movement of these things to others. A leader of an inconsistent organization will find themselves in the middle of tasks and systems to the point where they can’t plan for the future. Rather than visioning for the future, they find their time is spent on how to address the shortfalls from the previous week’s or day’s operations.
As I mentioned in the beginning, consistency is key for every organization. It doesn’t matter what you do or how many employees you have, if any of these five things are true for you, you need to address this foundational principle of consistency.