Let's be honest: deep down we all want success to be easy, or fast, or to come to us in one fell swoop. We like to think that one great accomplishment will make us eternally well-known and respected. That's why the majority of us can't resist clickbait articles that make success seem simple. We want one path to achieve lasting success, and the good news is that there is one path that may get us there. The bad news is that it isn't easy, or fast, or one-time. The path to success is paved with consistency.
Compared to five-minute life hacks or the ability to wake up at 4:30 every morning, consistency is an unsexy quality, but one that's critical for leaders. Consistent, everyday choices set you up to accomplish great things because you're always moving forward, and constant progress is a key motivator for employee enthusiasm and loyalty. Here are a few ways to weave consistency into your daily life as a leader.
Follow through on your initiatives.
Have you ever been on a team where a manager or executive pulled everyone into a meeting to get them excited about a shiny new initiative, only to have the idea fizzle out a month or so later? Most of us have, and it's exhausting and demoralizing. When good ideas are introduced and then allowed to die on a regular basis, employees' motivations to perform and their trust in the company wither away. That's why it's critical to couple big plans with plans of action.
Next time you want to introduce a new company initiative, set a deadline for completion, or a quantifiable goal. Delegate responsibilities for the initiative to everyone it will impact. When people at every level of the company are responsible for turning an idea into a reality, you instill layers of accountability that keep progress going, even if some people become busy and distracted.
Don't let yourself be distracted.
Serial entrepreneurs and executives like to think about big ideas, and most of the time that's good and necessary. It's our responsibility to see the trajectory of the whole company and focus on the most impactful goals. The crux of being a big-picture thinker, though, is that once a new idea is launched, its execution can fall by the wayside when another big idea rolls in. This is particularly true if the original idea has hit roadblocks or isn't going according to plan. Despite any roadblocks, disheartening results, or enticing new ideas, your team needs you to make decisions about the work you're doing now, lest they sink time and resources into a project that will die in silence.
Pursuing new ideas is an essential part of leadership, but make sure to keep your priorities in order. Maintain a list of initiatives in progress, and discuss with your managers during regular one-on-one meetings to monitor how those initiatives are coming along. If a project has hit a snag, make the resolution of the issue top priority. The more quickly you tackle challenges that get in the way of your big ideas, the quicker you get to move on to the next exciting venture.
Set attainable goals.
Often the reason we let our visions of success fade is because we set goals that are unrealistic or vague. ("I want to grow the company by the end of the year," is not a productive goal.) When reality sets in, it can be easy to scrap an idea as a dud because it didn't work out the way we intended. Most of the time that's simply not the case. The idea may have been good, but the execution didn't manifest because the goals were not clear or even attainable. Setting specific and realistic goals is important for your sanity as a leader, and it can be even more important for the morale of your team.
As you plan your next big move, choose an overarching goal, as well as specific goals to be met along the way. When expectations are clear and new ideas become positive results on a regular basis, both you and your team can be successful by virtue of constant forward motion.