Today I’m delighted to be handing over the reins on the blog to guest writer Julia Benbow. I first met Julia on our “Is Bad Behaviour Killing Big Business” LinkedIn discussion group. She’s a great contributor to the discussion. Julia has a way with words and she makes me laugh. Here she makes an impassioned plea for a little inconsistency. Enjoy the post, and why not add an idea or two in the comments? Go Julia!
What would happen if we were all just a little bit more different?
Businesses are very committed to consistency. Consistency in product, quality, brand, behaviour, etc. We all want to get something that fulfils our expectations. We have an expectation that what we get should meet the promise that we were made. Predictability is powerful and it sells.
I have a bit of an inner dialogue running and at the moment, I am in favour of a consistency rebellion. Mavericks of the world unite!
What’s the basis for this movement? Two reasons; firstly big business argues with itself and that hinders innovation and progress. We are given policy, process, scorecards, competency frameworks, telephone scripts, templates for power point presentations, reporting timetables, budgets, and on, and on…… Then we are asked to continually improve, to be fresh, to challenge the status quo, to innovate! How? When? What with? Secondly, people are predisposed to inconsistency. A sense of ones own uniqueness is important to self esteem. Excessive consistency, too much structure, well, it just infers that your natural state is not ok. What does not okay-ness lead to? Yes folks, misery. People who bring their personalities to work, warts and all and have space to express it, teach others and they learn themselves.
I say empower people to be inconsistent. The risk averse will need to breathe deeply here. Give them some space, get rid of some of the things that you think make you or your business consistent. You don’t have to do it permanently, it might be just for a day, a week or even a month. Do it, give it time, coach and see what happens.
So, what are your ideas? What could you do to make you, or your business, less consistent?