What “Ruthless Consistency” Does Not Mean

Whenever I deliver a presentation on Ruthless Consistency, I can usually pick out someone who just isn’t comfortable with the idea. And when that discomfort gets to a breaking point, the person asks me a question like: “Doesn’t Ruthless Consistency imply that people should be mindless automatons, robots who are required to do the same thing the same way all of the time?”
Great question. Here’s the answer:
Ruthless Consistency does not mean you should do same thing the same way all the time. In fact, that would be a recipe for disaster. To never improve your processes, never innovate, or never utilize new technology would put you on the fast track to irrelevance. And squashing individual creativity and initiative would only undermine your culture.
So what, then, does Ruthless Consistency mean? It means making certain that everything you say and do is ruthlessly consistent with your purpose. Every decision, every action, every practice, every process – everything must send a consistent message that reinforces the importance of, and your commitment to, that purpose.
Finding new and better ways to do things that support your purpose is being ruthlessly consistent. And doing things the same way, long after that way has become obsolete, is ruthlessly inconsistent with your purpose.
Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” I would say that consistency of purpose – continually demonstrated through decisions and actions – is the hallmark of the committed.
Ask yourself: Are my decisions and actions continually and consistently aligned with my intentions?
Make it happen.
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