On June 24th, The Blazing Trails Coaching Adventures meet-up group met out at Mackworth Island, in Falmouth Maine. As we walked the 1.5 mile island trail, we talked about the qualities that define a confident leader, and I am sharing them with you this week. Today, I am talking about the third “C” of Confident Leaders- Consistency. If this is the first time you have visited me here on the “Trail”, you can catch up by reading about the First “C” – of Confident Leaders – Character, and the Second “C” of Confident Leaders – Control.
At the beginning of each trek I lead, I always run through a checklist, and do a “pre-trip debriefing” with my group before we start hiking – every single time. I don’t care if we are walking 500 feet or 50 miles. It gives my group confidence in themselves that they know what to do in an emergency, and it gives me confidence that the trip will run smoothly and safely. Confident leaders have a series of checks and balances, and keep consistent routines. Even though I have packed my backpack a thousand times – I always go through a check list of what I keep in it so I can be confident I have what I need for each trek.
Some people are not naturally “routine people” and have a hard time with consistency. They may fear that it takes away from being spontaneous, and therefore takes away from their sense of creativity and having fun. I would encourage you, even if you are a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of person to find ways you can build in consistency – for yourself, and for your team. Consistency removes the fear of the unknown and puts people at ease. When I go to a Subway sandwich shop – no matter what Subway I go to in the world, I can be confident that the sandwich I order will be made exactly the same way every time because of their consistent practice of making a sandwich. Every store uses the exact same ingredients – they train all their associates the exact same way, and they use the exact same routine when working with a customer. In fact, they have trained their customers on how to order a sandwich – we know their routine by heart.
Building consistency requires focus, discipline and commitment. I would suggest if you are not used to being consistent, or if building this habit is a challenge for you, to start small. A tool that may help is what I call a “smart goal tracker” – essentially, it’s a calendar – I would suggest keeping it visible in a prominent place that you will see every day. Set a goal for yourself, for instance – to walk 2 miles a day – then put a sticker or a check mark on each day that you do it. Make a challenge to yourself to “not to break the chain”…. reward yourself for each time the chain goes unbroken. If you try this method, please check back with me and let me know how it goes!
Until next time – Hit the Heights!
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney, CPCThe Natural Leadership Guide