Are you achieving the goals you set for your business? Or are you working harder and harder but you find that you’re not getting the results you want? In this video, I explore the one thing that might be missing in your efforts and explain why you’re not achieving what you want. And that is consistency.
Businesses are very much like people: they have a life of their own, they need food (cash flow) to survive, and interaction with other people (businesses) to thrive, and to be profitable, the business needs to be consistent in its product delivery, customer service, and management. For example, would you continue to a restaurant if you experienced inconsistent food quality or service levels every time you ate there? Or would you continue to do business with your suppliers if you knew that you could not depend on them to provide you with the raw materials consistently and in a timely manner? Very unlikely.
You could be working very hard keeping your cash flow in good shape and your marketing efforts on point, but if you’re not consistent with your product delivery, customer service, or even how you manage your operations, it will be difficult to achieve the goals that you set for your business.
What does consistency look like?
Think of some of the global brands that you know: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Samsung, or even Disney.
When we buy Coke or eat in McDonald’s from anywhere in the world, we know what to expect. Sure, there will be some slight differences in packaging, in the case of Coke, or items on the menu to reflect local tastes, in the case of McDonald’s but we always know what we’re getting. Coke and McDonald’s are consistent, no matter where they are in the world. The same goes for Apple and Samsung—we know what we’re going to get when we buy an Apple laptop or a Samsung phone.
How do you become consistent?
- Consistency is mindset.
Jim Rohn said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals. Consistency is an iterative process—it means doing things, in the same manner again and again. Doing so, all things being equal, yields the same results.
Where do we begin to develop consistency in our mindset? By focusing on your WHY. As I discussed in a previous video, our purpose—why we’re in business—provides us with a direction and motivation. Consistently incorporating our why in everything that we do facilitates consistency.
- Consistency in expectations.
So now you have a beacon and a direction, the next question to ask is: how fast do you want to arrive to your goal?
In the book ‘Great by Choice’, written by Jim Collins & Morten T. Hansen, they discuss Southwest Airlines’ resistance to follow the competition and expand their routes rapidly in line with the other airlines to secure their market share. Instead, Southwest expanded in a methodical and consistent manner which was much slower than expected. When the 9/11 tragedy occurred, most airlines started to lose money, but Southwest managed to maintain a profit due to their careful and consistent growth.
- Consistency in doing.
Southwest Airline is known for its cost leadership strategy. WHY is to provide customers with great value service at the lowest possible cost. This WHY determines how they operate.
How do they do that?
Southwest Airlines is known for its lean operations and only uses Boeing 737s, because doing so reduces training costs for pilots, crew and mechanics—this strategy also streamlines maintenance processes because they only need to maintain one type of aircraft.
They have an open seat policy; passengers are not assigned seats but are assigned boarding zones. This policy, coupled with their strategy of only using Boeing 737s, allows the airline to seamlessly switch aircraft for any reason as there is no need re-issue boarding passes or re-assign seats.
The airline’s consistency has also allowed them to weather the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Southwest had less debt coming into the crisis than some rivals, has lower costs and is more focused on domestic destinations, which is more likely to rebound than international travel. This means that they have more leeway to move into opportunities for growth when the industry is experiencing turbulence.
For example, Southwest’s strategy has always been to move into larger airports once able. With larger rivals reducing flights in major hubs, such as O’Hare in Chicago, Southwest moves in and takes up their spots. While the airline experienced contractions in some routes, the new routes are helping them compensate for those losses.
Southwest strategy and tactics allow them to consistently deliver their WHY—to provide great value airline service at low cost to their passengers. In the process, passengers know what to expect when they’re flying with the airline.
The key takeaway is to identify what your business does best, the value that it presents to you clients, and be consistent with what works for you in order to present that value to them.