One might argue that the most important responsibility of a leader is to remind its people of the vision and purpose of the company. Our common purpose is an important component of our existence, and an organization that needs to exists should put an effort to define its purpose. The sign of good leadership always reflects consistency and unwavering belief in the purpose.
Michael Canic, author of Ruthless Consistency has a lot to say about this topic through his book. Let’s dive in.
Your book is titled, Ruthless Consistency. What does it mean and why is it important?
Leaders who are ruthlessly consistent in developing the right focus, creating the right environment, and building the right team, are leaders whose organizations win. It’s important because research continues to show that roughly 70 percent of strategic change initiatives fail. I wrote Ruthless Consistency to capture what it takes to succeed, why, and how.
Be consistent. It sounds simple; why isn’t it?
As a leader, what’s more important than anything you do is everything you do. The reason it’s not simple is because there are a lot of things that leaders do—strategy, communications, resource allocation, performance management, and so on. It’s hard to be consistent. Yet misaligning anything could undermine everything.
What does it look like when leaders are inconsistent?
When leaders are inconsistent, they send mixed messages. For example, it’s when they trumpet excellence yet tolerate poor performance, or give people responsibility without sufficient authority. Mixed messages demotivate people, kill leaders’ credibility, and undermine strategic change.
Isn’t consistency limiting? Shouldn’t there be room for creativity and innovation?
I’m not proposing robotic repetition for the sake of being consistent. What I’m championing is a ruthless consistency of purpose, one that is constantly projected in your decisions and your actions. It means that everything you do—as creative and innovative as that might be—is consistently aligned with that purpose.
Why ruthless? That sounds harsh.
“Ruthless” isn’t meant to imply being cold-hearted or cruel. What it means is an uncompromising commitment to your stated purpose. Fulfilling that commitment requires you to encourage and reinforce the human spirit, not crush it.
Who will benefit most from the book?
Any leader who has had enough of strategic plans that go off the rails, change initiatives that flounder, or chronic underperformance will benefit from Ruthless Consistency. While I wrote the book with leaders of mid-market companies in mind, the principles and practices apply to organizations of all sizes.
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