What are the characteristics of great success?
If we look at some of the traits that have played key roles in certain giant corporations, there are three that stand out for their prevalence in almost all instances of mega-success.
Those three are: Consistency. Applicability. Sustainability.
In working with many clients over the years who have struggled to grow their companies I have long encouraged them to “McDonaldize” their organizations.
McDonalds, regardless of your views on the nutritional value of their products, have exemplified these three traits in everything they do.
You can order a cheeseburger at any McDonald’s in the world and you will receive the same thing every single time.
You receive exactly what you expect. No surprises.
When we go back to a business as a satisfied repeat customer we tend to do so in order to get “more of the same” and if anything changes we immediately notice the difference and determine whether this is now an acceptable new normal or a pale comparison to our previous experience.
McDonald’s has mastered the art of consistency meaning they have become excellent at doing the same thing over and over again and producing exactly the same result.
They have also mastered the ability to replicate that consistency which means they can produce exactly the same result anywhere they choose without the slightest detectable difference in their product.
And finally, they have successfully been able to do this over and over again, year after year for more years than most of us have been alive which means they understand, and have perfected the practice of sustainability.
My wife, Gimalle, and I go out for dinner every Friday. Friday date night is my favourite night of the week and I always look forward eagerly to our dinner and the delightful conversation that always accompanies it.
As we drove home from dinner last night I thought of McDonald’s and the role that consistency plays in one of the largest, if not the largest, restaurant chains in the world.
My reason for thinking of McDonald’s was because we returned to a restaurant we had visited for the first time two months ago. We had both thoroughly enjoyed the meal and had placed this restaurant on our “must go back to” list.
Everything had been tantalizingly delicious and when we left home last night we were eagerly anticipating a repeat performance.
Whenever we discover delicious new dishes at a new restaurant we always order those same meals during our following two or three visits before boldly venturing to other menu items.
Last night, in keeping with this tradition, we ordered the same dishes as we had on our previous visit and waited to be dazzled again.
Alas, this was not the case. The meals arrived and not only did they not look as appetizing as they had last time but both tasted dry, overcooked and bland.
We tasted each other’s meals to verify our findings and went home somewhat disappointed.
We have often talked of the number one cause of conflict occurring being when expectations are not met and the inconsistency between our two visits to led us to question whether we would ever go back a third time.
Dedication to consistency played an enormous role in McDonald’s growth and the absence of consistency may well contribute to the demise of this restaurant.
Consistency is also the rock on which personal change rests.
When we set out to make changes – get in better shape, lose weight, gain confidence, etc. – in our personal lives, we generally do so with some plan of action in mind: we will follow a certain eating regimen, we will go to the gym three times a week, we will join a Toastmasters Club and practice presenting speeches in public.
We do this for a while and begin to notice positive results.
And then what do we do?
We stop doing the very things that are giving us the results we want.
We lose a bunch of weight and then we go back to eating the way we did before and gain it all back.
Plus a bonus of a few pounds.
We go to the gym regularly three times a week and start feeling healthier, stronger, more energetic, and generally happier.
And then what do we do?
We stop going to the gym, forgo any form of exercise and, in the blink of an eye, feel as sluggish and out of shape as we did before.
We join a Toastmasters club, nervously prepare for our first presentation, get through it, deliver one or two more speeches and begin to feel confident speaking in front of a group.
And then what do we do?
We quit going to meetings, quit seeking opportunities to practice and when the day comes that we need to deliver a quality performance in front of a large group, our lack of practice compounded by a pounding heart rate cause us to flub the presentation.
If insanity is defined as doing the same things over and over and expecting the results to different, then consistency is doing the same things over and over again and wanting the results to be the same.
And consistency plays a far better role in our lives when we use it to make permanent the changes we desire, thereby bringing happiness into our being, than it does when we consistently do the very things that consistently make stress, unhappiness and frustration a daily occurrence.
Consistency means doing what we know works, and doing it over and over again regardless of how we feel, particularly when we don’t feel like doing it
The burger makers at McDonald’s make burgers exactly the same way day in and out regardless of whether they feel like doing that or not. They pay no attention to their feelings and focus exclusively on putting their efforts into repeatedly following and repeating a tried and true method.
That’s called consistency.
And that is why McDonald’s is everywhere, and growing.
Till we read again.