Don’t you appreciate people who are consistent? When I refer to people who are consistent I mean they are the same every time you are around them. Qualities like their friendliness, values, and outlook do not change with every interaction. You can rely upon them and trust them. Companies that remain consistent in certain areas will usually outperform their competitors over the long haul. Of course, I am not referring to changes needed to remain competitive in a constantly changing world. I am referring to the Random House Webster College Dictionary definition, “steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.” More specifically, I am referring to the disciplined aspect of consistency. Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen called this discipline, “consistency of action –consistency with values, consistency with long-term goals, consistency with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time. Discipline is not the same as regimentation. Discipline is not the same as measurement. Discipline is not the same as hierarchical obedience or adherence to bureaucratic rules. True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long-term aspirations.” They further stated that companies with this type of disciplined consistency “don’t overreact to events, succumb to the herd, or leap for alluring-but irrelevant-opportunities (Collins, Hansen, 2011, p.21).”
How can a company achieve the consistency of action that Collins and Hansen describe? The very first step is to have the answers to the following questions.
- What are our core values?
- What are our long-term goals?
- What are our minimum performance standards in all areas?
Clearly answering each of the above questions results in clarity, focus, and a solid guide toward which to strive in a chaotic world. Once in place, consistency of action means referring to them often and measuring adherence to them.
*Collins, Jim & Hansen, Morten, (2011), Great By Choice