Consistency, congruency essential to success
Updated: May 7, 2018
Last week I didn't write an article. I could give you all the excuses in the world. I was travelling, I had meetings, my dog was eating my printer paper.
They are all true, however the real reason is that I had a man cold and just couldn't write. Outside of holidays, it was the second time I missed my column in two years. I think I have been pretty consistent, I would say that I have been pretty successful in delivering the goods.
But what does consistency have to do with success?
There are probably two words that are more related to how successful we are in life and business than any other words in the English dictionary. Those two words are consistency and congruency.
Consistency means that people can rely on us. If we say we are going to do something, we do it. We say we are going to have product or deliver a service, we have that product for our customers, and we deliver that reliable level of service each and every time they ask for it. If we tell our clients or even our kids for that matter, that we will be somewhere at a certain time every day or every week, we need to be there. That is consistency.
Great businesses were built on delivering consistency. Consistency of product, consistency of quality, consistency of service. When we know what we can expect from a company, we can make plans, because we know we are dealing with people we can trust.
Inconsistencies ruin businesses. Great quality or service one day followed by shoddy workmanship or unreliable service, frustrates our customers and drives them to our competitors. At least if we were consistent in our poor workmanship, or maybe our service wasn't the best but it was reliable, people could understand that and work around it. But most people can't deal with inconsistency. Our customers want to be able to rely on us.
So what about congruency?
Congruency means we are true to our word. It means that if we tell our customers or our employees, we value something - the environment, family, community - we actually prove that we do by our actions not just our words.
In business congruency is important because our customers want to be able to trust us. They want to know that if we say something we mean it. If we tell them that we value them as customers but never follow-up with them, we are incongruent in our actions. If we say that we care for people, yet they see us berating them, humiliating them, or putting profits first, they are going to wonder how we will treat them as customers in spite of our claims that we put customers first.
When we are not true to our word, when we are not congruent in our actions, people see through us for what we are, and we feel ashamed. This is a hard place to be in business and in life.
When our values are in alignment and we are congruent in our words and our actions, we can stand tall. We can be proud because we are honorable. In many societies, honor is everything. In business today, it should be given more prominence.
When customers can understand that we are going to be consistent or reliable, and congruent or true to our word, they want to do business with us. It might take time for them to develop this trust and dependence on us to serve their needs, but with consistency in service and considerate, innovative marketing we will gain lifetime customers.