A difficult matter than implementing change is being confident about what works, why, and knowing the time to change and when not to. Digging into the reasons why what works works will give more insight on the importance of consistency. But at the start of a major project or journey unknown, what works is hard to define. As I go along, I take note of the things that are working out well while trimming the ends of the things that do not get results. Sometimes the challenge is not in somehow choosing the wrong things to do, but rather choosing the wrong time to do the right things. Timing is everything in business and life decisions. Collins writes concerning this saying,
“If we have time to let the situation unfold, giving us more clarity before we act, we take that time…[because] sometimes the quick are the dead.”
There are many proverbs that support this notion in that moving fast is not an audible for dealing with uncertainty. Business is much more like a mega-marathon than it is a sprint.
Change is necessary and requires research with adjustment. Jim Collins calls the experiments of exploring options shooting bullets. The truth of the matter is that a “good process doesn’t guarantee good outcomes,” just as a “bad process doesn’t guarantee a bad outcome.” What would be detrimental to the long term success of the organization or person is a bad process that just so happens to have a good outcome. The negative reinforcement creates bad habits and increases risk tolerance above that which should ever be permitted. Big decisions of great risk for either the good or worse are classified as cannonballs. We are free to shoot as many bullets as we need to find the target. We have to fire the cannonballs dead on. Whether the changes be tweaked services, innovative new offerings, or completely unrelated, bare in mind that shooting bullets can be done on whimsical intuitions, but cannonballs must be fired only on fact. My attempt to start a crowd-funding campaign for the DBMH project while trying to write the book was a bust of a cannonball. The whole process cost me a lot of valuable time, however, I have learned firsthand how important it is to stay focused and always fire bullets first. My audience is more interested in investing in the finished product, not the development of a bigger, better possibility. Therefore I have to return my focus to the original plan and stick to it.
If I create checks and balances to help myself stay consistent in vision and execution, I’ll make it to my goal. Collins firmly instructs readers to
“reject the choice between consistency and change; embrace consistency and change at the same time.”
I will only change things consistent with your vision, mission and SMaC. My SMaC recipe is based in honesty and patient quality. There are countless benefits in “adhering to the SMaC recipe [that] forces order in the amidst chaos” and creates a framework of guidelines for leaders to abide by. If I develop relationships, create products, and deliver customer service following those simple guidelines, I won’t repeat the mistakes of the past. The most valuable point in Collins’ research revealed that
“the signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change; the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”
As I am building the foundation of my organization and who I am as a leader, it is imperative that I stay true to the foundational principles of my SMaC. The SMaC is simple enough to transfer in any context and specific enough to rule out anything that’s shady or has to be done quick, fast, and in a hurry!