Last Updated Mar 18, 2010 6:13 AM EDT
One of the biggest drivers of satisfaction for both customers and employees is consistency -- something often taken for granted, or overlooked entirely, in relation to leadership and what happens within an business.
In a recent video, BNET UK blogger Stuart Cross relates his experience of working with Richard Baker, one-time CEO of Boots, who never missed an opportunity consistently to drum out his key strategic themes. Stuart estimated Richard delivered his strategy message 6,000 times, which may well be true. One thing's for certain -- everyone who worked for him, interacted with him, or read a piece about him, went away absolutely clear about where Boots was going, and what needed to be done to get it there.
From consistent communication came clarity.
This doesn't have to mean unchanging -- quite the opposite. During Baker's tenure, Boots changed from an over-priced, over-staffed and inward-looking corporation to a more competitive, leaner, more dynamic business.
It's a change that seems to be accelerating under its current, private equity-backed leadership. But Baker's skill was to use consistent language and communication to articulate the changes and shifts in priority, in a way that made them all appear part of the same plan.
From consistent language came credibility.
In "Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS?" series, former ITV boss-turned-troubleshooter Gerry Robinson sums up change management: "...it's about helping people get clear on what they need to do, giving them permission to do it, then constantly following through with them to make sure it gets done." In the same way, Baker used his head-office briefings to update the business on progress versus, you guessed it, the consistently communicated strategy; rewarding individuals and teams for their efforts, and shining a spotlight on progress.
From consistent follow-through came confidence.
I see many different types and styles of business and leadership in action. But one element that always has a massive bearing on whether or not you can galvanise your people and deliver goals is the consistency and quality of your leadership. And actually, the consistency part isn't rocket science.