The Importance of Consistency
“Consistency is the true foundation of trust.Either keep your promises or do not make them.” Roy T. Bennett
Research anything concerning success, in any field of endeavour and you will eventually encounter the same message. Consistency is key. Whether the magnitude of achievement is modest or massive, achievement itself is underpinned by the consistent application of will, behaviour and belief. As an example, consider how a brand (or business) engenders customer loyalty. They apply the same experience repeatedly, ensuring that their core values and beliefs are present within every customer interaction they create. The belief in the importance of consistent quality, standards and experiences, drives and creates the organisational values. These shape the behaviours elicited within the organisation, on which the business achieves their results. The results of these behaviours in-turn reinforce the beliefs on which they are based.
Tony Robbins (uber personal development guru) is quoted as saying, “For changes to be if any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” In any fundamental change to our behaviours (for example, changing a diet or activity habit) we venture outside of the “comfort-zone” in which we exist. This experience by it’s very nature is not only uncomfortable, it can loaded with anxiety and fear of failure. The need for consistency in behaviour is a crucial a factor in regards to making behavioural changes, as it is to a business seeking customer loyalty. The initial step into the unknown is as exciting, as it is unnerving. Whilst all planning and research can be done to position yourself, or your business, to achieve the desired results until that initial step is taken the result can never be known. Equally important here is the need to be realistic in expectations in respect of results. The initial step may produce the desired result. Bingo! Keep doing it! Thereby consistency in your behaviour is a given. However it’s possible that the initial step is fraught with a sense of uncertainty and the result is either not so positive or immediate. This doesn’t mean that the goal is incorrect or achievable, it means that there needs to be a continuity of behaviour. There needs to be a consistency. This doesn’t mean blind devotion to unsuccessful behaviours (and indeed a review process is important) but it does mean that once you step outside of that comfortable behaviour you retain the momentum and don’t take that easy option of stepping back inside that “comfort zone”.
Business planning and personal development aside, consistency is key to all relationships. Scott Borchetta (CEO Big Machine Records and discoverer of singer Taylor Swift) was recently recorded as saying “Relationships feed on credibility, honesty and consistency.” The bottom line is that we must consistently stand by what we intend, state and believe. The impact of stating one thing and then performing something else, is simply to provide people the idea that we are either seeking to deceive or undermine them. In personal relationships, business transactions or personal development unless we have alignment and consistency between our stated beliefs and behaviours, all that will result is insecurity, uncertainty, alienation and dissatisfaction.
From an organisational perspective, the organisation’s purpose (mission/vision) should be the driving force which then shapes both strategy (the plan) and the culture (how it’s achieved). Personal development and relationships are essentially the same. Understanding the “why” (mission/vision) that drives the “what” (strategy and culture) is the fundamental beginning point. Indeed the “what we do”(strategy) and “how we do it” (culture) in our lives is shaped and fundamentally depends on understanding of the “why we are doing it” (which often time are deep level emotional drivers). Providing all is in place, true and aligned, consistent delivery of practices, activities and behaviours will successfully generate the desired outcomes and results.
“Consistency is the hallmark of the unimaginative.” Oscar Wilde
“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.” Bernard Berenson
Our lives are however filled with inconsistency. Poor service, preferential treatment, disaffected colleagues, procrastinators and general lethargy can often predominate. The need for rethinking the basis for on which consistency in behaviour (organisation or personal) is indeed based is forever important. Some may suggest however that it is this very fact, our need for consistency, that presents as the antithesis of our success. Our need for consistency in behaviours which we find comfortable becomes limiting. We seek to base our lives in consistency, assuming a role, occupation and lifestyle which not only suits but limits further personal development. To change this takes awareness, energy and a consistency to apply different behaviours. There is an irony within both Berenson’s and Wilde's quotes, that in order to avoid the limitations of being consistent (and therefore unimaginative) we must consistently retain an alternative set of behaviours directed towards imaginative and informed successes.
The bottom line here is that we need to maintain focus and attention to delivering what we promise and making promises that we can deliver. This is as important to the promises we make to ourselves, as it is to those we make to others. If we set out on a path to achieve a goal or change a behaviour, it’s our choice to make it happen. It’s our choice to take the consistently take the steps which take this vision to reality.
Consistency drives success. It creates a sense of integrity in who we are and what we do, both for ourselves and others. Trust in ourselves, our businesses or our activities is essentially built through consistency. Ultimately it’s not the things we do occasionally which creates who we are, it’s that which we do repeatedly that forms us.