The Law of Consistency – Motivation Gets You Going, Discipline Keeps You Growing
“…there are many voices of counsel, but few voices of vision; there is much excitement and feverish activity, but little concert of thoughtful purpose. We are distressed by our ungoverned, undirected energies and do many things, but nothing long. It is our duty to find ourselves.” – Woodrow Wilson, 1907
In the world of leadership there are many applications for the word “consistency”. Here are some of the categories I would expect consistency to be present.
Communication of Vision and Purpose
We all have been participants of annual strategy meetings in which we agree to a vision statement and have it forgotten several months later.
In order for a vision to stick and be implemented, we need consistent communication. If the communication falters or is sporadic, people start focusing on their own goals and objectives to find their own purpose.
No one likes the Harvey “Two-Face” Dent approach to leadership. These are the so called “leaders” that say one thing in public and the opposite in private. I have been in countless meetings in which the “leaders” of the company say “we made some mistakes, and it’s okay, because we learned from them”, but when the doors close, the finger pointing and blaming remarks are unstoppable.
If we can’t trust our leaders to be consistent in what they believe and how they behave in all circumstances, how can we follow them?
Jon Gordon in his book The Soup states (context added by me):
- Culture drives behavior, and behavior drives habits.
- In a way, culture could be simplified as the way an organization keeps score. The majority of people are able to figure out how things work around the company. Whether it is by playing favorites, pushing people around, passing the buck, shooting the messengers, or taking responsibility for one’s actions, people will figure out how to work the system. This will in turn, drive how all work gets done.
- Culture trumps strategy every time.
- Once people figure out how to get ahead, it doesn’t really matter how many procedures, rules, and regulations are in place, they will still do work the way score is kept.
- Culture must be nurtured.
- Most people will turn to personal habits when no directive or clear guidance is given. Therefore, if they are not constantly reminded of the culture, they’ll quickly go back to what they know how to do with ease.
What’s our role as leaders?
- We must develop system that allows us to regularly and consistently share our vision and purpose to the team.
- We must be ruthless ensuring what we say in private and public is constant and in aligned with our beliefs. After all, we must be able to trust ourselves first.
- We have responsibility to chart the course of the organization. Building a culture that creates the habits necessary to achieve the set goals is a simple way to keep the same course in the long run.
Are there any others places in which consistency is necessary?