October 11, 2017
Volume 19 – Number 18
Streamlining the Business of Commercial Real Estate
Brenda Dohring Hicks, MAI, CEO
Just Skip It
Nope. Don’t skip it. “Skip it” as an idiom has many meanings. Many times we might use it to just mean “oh never mind.” Or we might say “skip that for now or just this time – I’ll do it or come back to it later.” It’s that last meaning that I think gets us in trouble the most. All too often we allow ourselves a “just skip it for now.” I caution you, it’s generally not a good idea. Not personally and not in business. And I believe strongly that if you are using a communication channel like this blog, consistency is really important and just skipping it and breaking the pattern of consistency doesn’t do anyone any good.
Those of you who consistently read this blog know that while I promote change and believe in the power of disruption, I place a lot of value on consistency. In today’s hectic world there’s never enough time, people or money to get everything done we want to, and following a strong set of values and processes consistently is more important than ever. The value of being consistent might seem fairly obvious. We might even tell ourselves that we make consistency a priority. But I know, that I could use some reminder of its importance and I’m guessing you might keep reading this if you think a gentle reminder of why skipping over something and not staying consistent is valuable. Consistency doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to strip people of the ability to make changes, rather, it provides the foundation to allow for disruption and change. Put to its best use, consistency provides a great road-map without stifling creativity, discouraging individuality or eliminating personal judgment and responsibility. Think about it, a band can perform the same song or singer can sing the same song a hundred different ways and still stay true to the distinctive sound that fans expect.
What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s incredibly easy to let consistency get away from us. It’s easy to say oh “I’ll just skip this time, but I’ll be sure to do it the next” and POOF there’s a hole created or an entire process dropped and forgotten. It’s even easier to see how “just skip it” taking place by those you rely on for consistency leads to a breakdown not just in the process, but in communication which chips away at that holy grail of relationships – trust. We all trust in process. We do it when we go to certain restaurants, we do when we go to certain hotels, we do in our businesses, we do it with our family and friends. The biggest issue is that it’s all too easy when someone decides to skip doing something for that something to never be done again. Now always being one to look at the other side of an issue, there is sometimes a good reason why something gets skipped. Maybe something is a bad part of the process or it didn’t really need to be done. But skipping something that other people either rely on or play a role in shouldn’t be done arbitrarily and in a vacuum. Sometimes, people do it unintentionally, but once they decide or realize they’ve skipped something they need to communicate that they did it and the reason why or communicate they didn’t mean to skip it and put the process back together again.
So here’s what I’m talking about this. I’ve been doing this blog which started out as a newsletter for over 10 years. My process is that this message comes to you every Wednesday. About a year ago I switched that to every other Wednesday. I’m sure most of you haven’t noticed, but I skipped two to blogs. Shame on me. That’s not a big thing to you. Many of you hit the Delete key pretty quick, because you don’t have time to read the message or it’s just not of interest to you. That’s perfectly okay. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t need to maintain consistency in my promise to put it in your inbox as promised. The problem is, I let myself do a “just skip it.” The problem is also with my team who reminds me (particularly when I have a heavy travel schedule which is often), that I need to provide them with my raw blog so they can format and send it out. Once they see me doing a “just skip it” without communication they won’t be certain that I am not intentionally breaking consistency. If we allow “just skip it” frequently enough, trust in the promise to deliver and perform deteriorates. Remember, whether we like it or not perception is everything in our words and actions create those perceptions. My email signature tagline is “Trust is the New Currency.” It’s what I believe. In marketing language, it’s my brand promise and trust is built on a foundation of consistency. If you can’t count on someone to be there for you as expected or their behaviors are inconsistent or you can’t trust that a product will always perform the way it is supposed to, trust is easily lost. So I say to you and my internal team, skipping my Wednesday communication was a mistake.
In this day of fake news, and a multitude of social media channels, reputation is everything. Consistent actions create reputations, good and bad. And the bad news is that a person or company’s reputation is in the hands of others just like perception is. One small tool that you have to help control both is being consistent. Through this communication I’ve just reminded myself of why consistency is so important and I hope I’ve given you something to consider.
As always, please send any comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!!!!