In a recent posting Be Different I looked at the need to be willing to take a different path from others. The point was that we cannot just blindly do what everyone else does. That was not intended to say that we always act differently, but only as a warning that we all need to be careful about what habits we adopt.

But Then There is Consistent

Despite the need to be willing to be different, that does not imply that we can constantly be doing things a different way. For the most part, customers want to know what to expect when dealing with us. By that I mean both external customers (those that we are selling to or trying to sell to) and internal customers (like other departments). If we are always changing things, nobody knows what to expect, and their interactions with us are confusing. In these areas we simply cannot afford to be inconsistent.

Look at this sketch of the Rock of Gibraltar and think about how it has been used as a symbol of being steady and strong.



Despite the need to occasionally be different from others, sometimes we still need to have ways to handle things that bring clarity to others. In other words, we need areas where we are as steady and unchanging as the Rock of Gibraltar. We simply cannot afford to be inconsistent.

For example, if we constantly change an ordering process or how customer complaints are handled, we create ambiguity that leaves people confused. They will be left asking themselves, “What am I suppose to do now?” The same goes for how we relate to others in our company and even our vendors. If another employee never knows what to expect from us, they become reluctant to interact. An example would be frequently shifting moods. What should they think if one time we are glad to see them and the next time we act as if we don’t care if they fall off the face of the earth? Likewise, if a vendor never knows if we can be expected to pay on time, they view us in an uncertain light.

So what about you and your company? Are you consistent in the areas you need to be so that others know what to expect? Can you separate this from those areas where is pays to be different? Remember, being different does not mean being inconsistent.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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