29 May 2018
When I was younger my father coined something we now know as the Snakes and Ladders Effect. As a young man, I would set a goal, make real progress and then – somehow – sabotage myself. I climbed the ladder and, before I knew it, I was back to the beginning.
Why? Because when we see success, when we reach milestones, we invariably celebrate. We take our foot off the gas and sit back on our laurels. It’s natural behaviour. It’s at that moment that inconsistencies occur.
Your magic formula – all of the things that make you successful – starts to slip and you lose focus. At UKFast we began calling these our Dr Who moments; when something that was once a key process falls into a black hole and we just stop doing it.
Now, whilst we celebrate as we always have, instead of becoming complacent we look at a success as a line in the sand. We’ve reached a milestone and we can now never go below that milestone. It’s time to create a new line in the sand and get on to the next goal.
That one-day dip to celebrate can cause an inordinate ripple effect. I have experienced it first-hand. I schedule every area of my life to ensure that I am consistent in everything I do – from weekly meetings with board members to time spent in the gym.
This means that everyone knows where to find me at any given point; I keep up with my own ‘magic formula’ to stay fit and healthy, and to work at an optimum level for the business too.
Consistency in business
One of the biggest areas that you need consistency with in business is with your teams. If you have rules for one but different rules for another, no-one knows where they stand. We’ve found that by having small teams – where leaders have no more than six direct reports – we’re able to ensure consistency throughout the management approach.
Equally we have had the same core values for more than 13 years: dynamic, passionate, professional, innovative and supportive. These run through the very heart of the business and every member of the team – these will never change. In the same way that our brand will never change.
Your brand is what makes you who you are. When you change that, you lose all of the association that customers, team mates and anyone in contact with the business has with that brand. Just look at the time British Airways changed their famous flag motif; it wasn’t long before they reversed the decision. Football team Leeds United tried to change their team crest and ultimately had to scrap plans after tens of thousands of fans signed a petition to stop the change. And, of course, Royal Mail spent an estimated £2 million to launch the name Consignia, only to rebrand back as Royal Mail just over a year later.
At the end of the day, consistency across every area of the business is essential to ensure that customers and your team know not only what to expect from the business but what is expected of them too.