- By Heather Locke -
As we roll up our sleeves and head into 2021, one key to success (and New Year’s resolutions) is consistency. From personal goal setting, to professional success and everywhere in between, we know consistency is vital.
With regard to serving our communities, let’s look at why consistency matters.
It’s been widely circulated that you need to do an activity for 30 days to create a habit that sticks. But more recent research suggests 66 days or more is needed. Consistency needs to be applied over a longer period of time to establish a habit. Good habits carry us into personal and professional progress.
The key to habit-building is consistent activity and engagement. Consistency is the “special sauce” to creating or maintaining a habit. Persistent effort is what sets great organizations apart from those struggling to establish their purpose. Consistent organizations get their message out predictably and build reliability among their stakeholders.
Here are five top benefits of consistency in connecting with and serving our clients and constituents:
This is a great place to start: What’s important this year in how you engage your stakeholders? What do you want to achieve? Once you get more clarity around what your organization needs to do, you can map out a plan to make small, measurable steps consistently in that direction. What we’re hearing recently is that consistent communication is particularly helpful to stakeholders in a variety of environments as we enter 2021. People don’t want surprises; they want a consistent stream of information and an easy way to access it. They want a straightforward way to provide feedback to their organizations and local governments.
As you engage consistently with stakeholders, your audience will start to understand what to expect from your organization. You can build trust and set better expectations with weekly or monthly communications, and by giving opportunities for residents to provide feedback. In the restaurant world, businesses build the trust of their community by offering a consistent menu and expectations about the kind of food they will get. As we’ve discovered during the pandemic, restaurants have become ingenious in how they continue to deliver their menu - sometimes constrained - but consistently.
An organization becomes predictable in its offerings with consistency in messaging and presence. This increases the integrity of an organization’s messaging, as well as benefiting relationships built by employees with stakeholders. With consistent messaging and services, the public understands and appreciates when circumstances change. Altered services, new messaging and new content are appreciated as residents come to expect consistency among change.
All of these efforts build on each other. Have a clear focus, put in the work day-to-day, consistently develop communication efforts and show up reliably with clients, residents and stakeholders. These are the hallmarks that will build your organization’s momentum. This must happen over time. All of these pieces take time to develop and build: seeds are planted and trust is earned. Hard work eventually pays off with a good combination of planning, consistent action and direction. If we don’t develop consistency in our engagement efforts, the chances of achieving our intentions (in this case it may be well-informed and engaged stakeholders) are pretty slim.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that there are many factors out of our control. What we do have control over is how we show up. If we do so consistently, that’s our way of building routines, creating reliability, and generating momentum. Real progress can be made with consistent effort over time.
As you engage with these efforts, your residents and community members will understand how often they will hear from you regularly, and how you will communicate critical information. They will be able to create a feedback loop and communicate with you as well. Establishing consistent habits and routines in how you engage with your stakeholders creates a sense of stability in your organization and understanding of what to expect.
Polco can help you engage with your stakeholders and support you in outlining an actionable plan for engagement in 2021! Tell me more.