It might seem overly obvious, maybe a little cliché even; consistency is an incredibly important element in succeeding in any business enterprise.
As an example, imagine what the McDonald’s brand might be if, on every occasion you visited a different location, you had a totally different experience. They might even all be positive experiences. Still, because they were all different, consumers would never be able to form expectations about future experiences. This is the polar opposite of brand, and as we all know, McDonald’s grew to be what it is because it very successfully established a unique market position and then, like little tin soldiers, stamped out restaurants in the thousands. EVERYONE knows what McDonald’s is. When consumers and customers get what they want, they are happy and will return.
Leadership guru John Maxwell said: “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”
Consistency is not just a critical tenet of branding; its important in every aspect of your business.
When it comes to leading teams, effective managers and leaders know that they have to be consistent in their behavior and attitude. When bosses are inconsistent, the trust that working relationships rely on is eroded. Organizations that are shot through with distrust are not effective. They become politically driven, hostile, terrible places to work. Your best employees will leave, in time, and what you have left are employees no one trusts. Trust is built on the foundation of consistency.
Businesses set goals and objectives which require consistent effort persistently applied to be achieved. Consistent focus is required. As the author Jim Rohn once put it, “Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Consistency is Important Across the Entire Business.
Products/services: McDonald’s is a great example of success bred from consistency in products and services; however, McDonald’s is a massive corporation with a lot of protocols in place that allow them to execute with this very high level of precision. It’s not as easy for smaller companies to do. In small business, it’s fairly common to have variances across a number of operational categories. Because of this, I’ve experienced inconsistency in product quality more often from smaller businesses than large ones. The consequences usually include disappointed customers, lower profitability due to lack of operational controls that larger companies have long-since addressed, lost business and a higher rate of returned merchandise.
Employees: Happy employees are better at creating positive customer experiences than unhappy ones are. Companies where HR policies take this into consideration often generate better customer experiences than those where employee morale is not elevated to the same level of importance. Companies that have standardized, clear and written employee policies create a sense of stability for their employees that would otherwise be missing. This stability fosters more trust and more contentment.
Suppliers: Consider this scenario – Timely payment of invoices is certainly one aspect of a mutually satisfying relationship between customers and suppliers. However, if payment is late but reliable, most suppliers will forgive the infraction. This is because the relationship has existed long enough and payment has been reliable with each transaction.
Advantages of Being Consistent
- Measure Changes – If you think back to high school science classes, in order to test whether a change in a system produces any given effect, all other variables have to be held constant. This applies to business, too. To know whether a change in the business processes is leading to the desired effect, it’s important to know that the change is being implemented in every case, by every person involved in the process. Without this kind of consistency, conclusions can’t be drawn.
- Creates Accountability – For this one, think of any cross-functional team project you might have run in the business. Consistently scheduling and conducting periodic team meetings, publishing minutes of those meetings, and managing the project by timelines are all common experiences that illuminate how well the team is functioning as well as where any performance gaps might be occurring. If these practices are consistently followed, all team members will feel a greater level of accountability and projects run more smoothly.
- Builds Reputation – Companies that consistently deliver exceptional quality products, on-time, and at a fair value develop excellent reputations. In the tech industry, Apple Inc. has such a reputation and because of this, Apple consumers are very brand loyal and will pay a premium for Apple branded products although there are substitutes in most of Apple’s product categories.
- Command Staff Allegiance – As the leader of your enterprise, you set the vision and the direction. Consistency in the way strategy is set and maintained makes it much easier for your line and staff to follow your direction. Meanwhile, leaders who waffle lose their team’s respect as well as their willingness to make the personal sacrifices needed to achieve stretch objectives.
Word4Asia is a consulting company that works with client organizations whose strategic plans include expansion in mainland China. Over more than twenty years, we have built a reputation for faithful execution of our client’s vision and objectives. We remain as true and committed to helping our clients in today’s fast-changing environment as we ever have been. If your plans include expansion in mainland China, we hope you’ll give us a call. We’d like to know more about it; perhaps there’s an opportunity for us to help! Feel free to reach out to Dr. Gene Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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