We’ve discussed consistency quite a bit on this blog with topics ranging from being consistent with your social media campaigns, to keeping yourself on track by adopting time management solutions. But in today’s post, we’re specifically discussing consistency in your behavior and actions. Behaving in a consistent way with your coworkers and clients creates expectations—and those expectations can be positive or negative. Here’s a checklist of consistent behavior tips to keep you on the expectation up and up.
- Return emails and phone calls within two business days. We can’t all stay connected 24/7 (and one could argue we shouldn’t), but even when we’re off the clock, the work doesn’t really stop. The expectation of immediate response is unreasonable, so try to avoid creating that expectation with your clients and coworkers. It’s okay to let an email wait or a phone call go to voicemail while you finish another project; but don’t let it sit there. If follow ups are a challenge for you, create a recurring event on your calendar so you get automatic reminders to set time aside for email and phone responses.
- Keep a consistent schedule. If you have a consistent plan for yourself and how you spend your day, it’s easier to provide that consistency to your co-workers and clients. Prepare for certain responsibilities or tasks at the same time every week and block out that time on your calendar so your co-workers know when you’re not available. Schedule recurring client calls or meetings in batches—the month, the quarter, or even the entire year—so everyone knows when to expect them and there aren’t last-minute scrambles to coordinate a dozen schedules.
- Don’t discriminate. One of the most effective and inexpensive tools to earn more business is by word of mouth. If you want the new business to stick, it’s important to be consistent with your clients across the board so the positive review isn’t for naught. Of course, not all clients come to you for the same services, but the basics are still a must: flexibility, integrity, and passion are services all clients should receive.
- Understand the nature of commitments. We discussed commitment-keeping in depth in last week’s blog, but the bottom line of consistently meeting people’s expectations is keeping track of when you’ve said yes to something. The other side of that is recognizing when you can’t say yes.
Establishing a reputation of consistency helps build trust in a professional relationship. Whether with your internal colleagues or your external partners and clients, being consistent in your behavior and actions allows you to set expectations and meet them.