The Need For Consistency
The theme of consistency has emerged in the last month with several clients. The need for consistent execution of leadership competencies; the need for consistent focus on operational practices; the benefits of consistent sales activities; the importance of consistency and reliability as part of one’s personal brand.
Being consistent and disciplined in your actions whatever they may be; from starting a new fitness regime to becoming a great mentor; yields results. It’s through the regular execution of desired behaviours that we make progress towards our goals. We need to keep our eye on the prize and take steps to achieve it on a consistent basis. There is no point of committing to something that you can’t deliver on consistently over time.
I’m reminded of the important of staying committed to the plan as we manage our busy Spring schedule. When things get hectic and we are thrown a curve ball, it’s easy to abandon our commitments (to ourselves and others). When my travel schedule gets busy, I drop some of my personal and professional commitments such as going to the gym and writing my blogs. The trick is to get back on track as soon as possible and recognize how “sticking to the knitting” will help you achieve your goal, faster and more efficiently.
How To Be Consistently Consistent
Be consistent requires that we do 5 things very well:
- Focus on your goal and WHY you want to achieve it
- If you remind yourself of why you are committed to the goal and what you will achieve it helps to focus your efforts on the tasks / actions that will get you there. Tap into your intrinsic motivation around the purpose of your commitment and how it will help you achieve mastery in your role as leader, employee, parent, friend etc.
- Pick 1 thing to focus on and stick with it – too many changes at once can be overwhelming
- Don’t introduce a number of new actions all at once. The risk of failure increases and you are more likely to become demotivated if you can’t consistently execute on your commitments. Start small, introduce 1 new action every 4-6 weeks and once you have created a new habit around that action, build upon it by adding in a new area of focus.
- Schedule your priorities
- As Stephen Covey said “ the key is not to prioritize what is on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”. Identify what your non-negotiable actions are and schedule them with the same rigor and discipline as you do other priority activities. Leaders need to schedule one-on-one time with their teams otherwise it won’t happen when everyone is swamped with work. Employees need to schedule time for learning and development so that their individual development plans can be achieved. Block off the time to do the things you know you need to do, and want to do, to achieve your goals.
- Ignore the negative voice that says “I don’t want to”
- Being consistent means taking action even if you don’t want to. It means ignoring the desire to hit the snooze button for your early morning workout or turning down the invite to go for lunch in order to finish up a quarter-end report. We need to be able to execute even when we don’t feel 100% because we have made a commitment, and being consistent is the only way to achieve the end goal. “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started” (David Allen)
- Rebound quickly
- When you veer off track, lose your momentum and stop doing what you know you need to do, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay. We have all done…and will do it again. The key is to rebound quickly. Don’t allow one day or one week or one month of missed opportunities turn into the “new normal”. Refocus on what you want to achieve and why. Focus on how achieving your goals will make you feel. The sense of accomplishment you will gain and the power in being consistent with your actions.
Great Leaders & Great Organizations Execute Consistently
Jim Collins in his book Great by Choice reveals how being consistent and focused is one of the core traits required to be a great company – defined as a 10xer because they outperform their industry index by 10 times. What these leading companies demonstrate incredibly well is:
- Consistency of action
- Unwavering in their focus on their goals
Discipline through a ‘20 mile’ march
This approach is about:
- Achieving performance markers with great consistency over a long period of time
- Having concrete, clear, intelligent and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track
- 2 types of self-imposed constraints:
- Unwavering commitment to high performance in difficult conditions
- Holding back in good conditions
The WHY for taking such a consistent and rigors approach to achieving goals is that several benefits are gained that support your success. You will:
- Build confidence that you can achieve results in adverse circumstances
- Reduce the likelihood of catastrophic results when you are hit with turbulent times
- Be able to exert self-control in an out-of-control situation
- Take ultimate responsibility for the outcomes regardless of circumstances