We have a tendency to believe that leadership, particularly Entrepreneurial leadership is an ever-changing, fast-paced, constant-need-to-pivot whirlwind. That may be true in the early days of trying to get a venture off the ground. When you're testing the market or the viability of your offering, staying agile is a vital part of how you make progress.
Once you've established the viability of your product or service, however, there comes a point when consistency, rather than chaos is what you need, particularly if you're striving for scalability. I've seen hundreds of business owners and leaders struggle with the personal shift away from leading through chaos to leading through consistency.
Here are three things you can do to build a drumbeat of consistency into your leadership and accelerate your progress toward repeatable, scalable success.
Communicate your vision.
The whirlwind leader's vision is driven by the thoughts they had in the shower that morning or the most recent conversation they had with someone interesting. All of a sudden we move from wanting to revolutionize healthcare, to re-inventing education to becoming the first company to colonize Mars.
The whiplash and confusion this causes your people leads to exhaustion, burnout and ultimately low productivity and turnover.
The consistent leader is sure of their vision, holds steadfastly to it and repeats it as often as possible in as many venues as possible. Townhalls, monthly meetings, weekly reviews, daily stand-ups, emails, and phone calls are all opportunities the consistent leader takes to remind their people of the North Star of where they're going.
Ask what the next action is.
The whirlwind leader rushes into meetings eight minutes late, hijacks the agenda, talks to think, makes a number of strange proclamations and dashes out at the end leaving everyone confused as to what was just agreed to.
The consistent leader ensures a robust conversation and debate, sticks to the agenda and most importantly focuses specifically on defining the next action for every item, leaving everyone with complete clarity not only on what needs to happen next but who is going to do.
Defer discussions to the appropriate forum.
The whirlwind leader views every interruption in their day (email, phone call, text message, water cooler conversation, tweet) as an opportunity to push the conversation forward. Regardless of which important pieces of data are missing or whose voice isn't in the mix, they value action over completeness.
The consistent leader understands that progress for progress sake doesn't always produce the best outcome. That when we make decisions without the right data or without all the voices in the room, we often have to re-work the decision or even worse, start all over again. So instead of dealing with every interruption in the moment, they quickly and stealthily navigate those inquiries to the appropriate forum leading to repeatability and scalability of their decision-making process.
If the idea of consistent leadership bores you then perhaps you're not ready to make the shift to scalability. If you see the value in it, however, my suggestion is to do these things until you begin to feel physically sick of doing them, and then do them some more. It's only then that your people are beginning to understand.