An individual or a company that has had inconsistent performance over time can usually be attributed to a lack of routine. All of us want the freedom to do our work with minimal distraction and noise from our bosses and others. While this is admirable and can be validated in some cases, it is not the answer or the strategy for long-term sustainable success. We must understand that structure, standards, culture, and routines are the basis of what an organization can build on. If you do not have the most basic structures in place all of the aspirational thoughts that a leader has can become a level of frustration. Here are three good reasons to implement and maintain routines in a company.
1) WHETHER WE ADMIT IT OR NOT, WE WANT TO KNOW THE RULES- Even the most independent individuals want to know what they can or cannot get away with. If my supervisor has never set the expectation that I need to be at the office (ready to work) at 9am I will definitely walk in the door at 9am and feel good about it! It is human nature to push the limits and good leaders understand and embrace that, which means they are always attempting to provide that environment and sentiment for things that really matter like the next marketing strategy. But if we do not have simple expectations it can become very difficult to get past the trivial opportunities and that will stifle the growth of an organization.
2) WHEN A LEADER’S BEHAVIOR IS ERRATIC, SO ARE YOUR RESULTS- All of us have heard the old saying that the team takes the personality of the leader, and it’s true. If you, as a leader, have the same amount of passion for every aspect and department within your business that will resonate with all team members. The fact of the matter is, that is the kind of water cooler talk you want instead of the kind that will slowly erode your culture. To be specific, if the entire organization understands the importance of their role and that importance is exemplified in the consistent interactions the leader has with the team it will foster and enhance the belief that “what I do is important for US to be successful”. That attitude and demeanor sets up a company to face future challenges head on and with confidence.
3) MAJOR IN THE MINORS- To use a sports reference, if your football team has a poor offensive line it is really difficult to build an elaborate and dynamic offensive scheme. In layman’s terms, as a leader, you must make sure that your organization has mastered the core of your business model prior to implementing more difficult strategic plans. If you run a ditch digging company, you should make sure that your basic hole digging skills are so good that any new hire can come in be an expert within 30 days. If not, you sure can’t graduate on to skillfully carving ditches based upon a customers request. If the standard (and your brand promise) is that we will dig you the best hole that anyone has ever seen, then you better be able to execute on that every single time! Once you do, the add-ons become fun and creative because you have a solid foundation of skill, expertise, and confidence.
At the end of the day, leading an organization to master the basics can and will lead to change and growth. The leader sets the tone for what that level of consistency should and will be so set routine expectations now to create future opportunity, always.