By Younas Chaudhary
How did I become successful in business and in life? The answer is simple: by being consistent. I grasped this key business principle at an early age, made it a habit, and practiced it daily. For example, whether I am in Houston, or some other city in America, or elsewhere in the world, I always keep my iPhone with me and remain plugged into Houston time so that I can always be available to my coworkers on their work schedules.
Similarly, a consistent work ethic has helped me take a logical, pragmatic approach to business challenges. Consistency has helped me build trust with lenders, customers, and coworkers. This has allowed me to make business decisions in a principled manner. I firmly believe that consistency is one of the most important business practices one needs to master.
“Consistency is about character, courage, and integrity. It’s about walking the talk,” says Adam Bandelli, Ph.D., in his book “What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness.”
When I decide on something, I move forward with courage and never back out with various excuses. I push through consistently because I know my decision as a manager will impact multiple individuals and businesses.
Consistency creates a predictable pattern of behavior in personal and business dealings. If I commit to meeting someone at a particular place at a particular time, I am consistently punctual. I’ve rarely missed any meetings or appointments during my 50-plus years in business.
“Consistency develops routines and builds momentum. It forms habits that become almost second nature,” says noted sales guru Harvey Mackay.
Over the years, I have developed consistent habits like being an early riser, and while working full time, I consistently arrived in the office at 7:00 am sharp, before any of my coworkers arrived. For most of my career, I also consistently worked from my office for half-days on Saturdays. Now I am semi-retired, but I still consistently plan for each coming week, month, and year so that I have clarity on where my business is heading and what areas we need to focus on. And I consistently go to bed at the same time almost every day.
Life has taught me that if I am consistent, I can set an example for my team members, and some of them may emulate that consistency. Consistency helps me honor my word, keep my commitments, and avoid flip-flopping in a world where trust is critical for long-term success.
“Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday lead to great achievements gained slowly over time,” business guru John Maxwell said. By building small habits that you can practice consistently over time, you can enhance efficiencies and build trust with internal and external audiences.
This important trait in life will allow one to build a well-organized workplace where coworkers know what to expect from you. In workplaces where policies are changed often, coworkers have no idea about what is happening, and they feel confused and demoralized. Managers who behave erratically without providing clear and consistent direction can lessen productivity in their teams and ultimately impact the company’s bottom line.
By contrast, consistency boosts employee morale, increases productivity, and builds trust. Clear and consistent messages help coworkers deal with daily tasks efficiently and on time. As a manager, when coworkers see you as consistent, they know that you are trustworthy, reliable, and logical.
According to Bandelli in his book “What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness,” there are three components of consistency, namely character, courage, and integrity. In my life, my parents taught me the value of character at an early age, and this has helped me throughout my life. As a child, my mother used to tell me: “Younas, be good to everyone.”
Courage came to me through faith, and a strong character helped me make timely wise choices. From one courageous decision to another, I learned that doing the right thing mattered irrespective of the results you generated. Lastly, integrity allowed me to build strong values and guiding principles throughout my life.
Looking back at my life, developing consistent habits and being true to my word have helped me immensely. So, if you are looking for the most important principle in business, let me tell you that it is not innovation or any other fancy term out there; it is consistency. You can innovate as much as you want, but it will not yield you anything in the long term unless you are consistent.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.