I love this time of year. Deep in the guts of spring on the cusp of summer.  EVERYTHING is alive. Including a feverish extracurricular activity calendar.

Like many, our family evenings are a blur with a dizzying schedule of games and practices this season. “Is it ball hockey night?  Soccer today? Is that jersey clean?!?” Honestly, most nights I throw a combination of shin pads, granola bars, orange slices and a couple kids in the car and hope for the best.

This is house league.  So, there’s a wide spread of talent on the rink and field.  Some kids are gifted, natural athletes. Others are working their tails off acquiring new skills and accompanying confidence.

Sitting on a folding chair from the sidelines affords a great view of the game, but also into human nature. In particular, the power of consistency.

Consistency is about how you repeatedly show up.  Without question, having raw talent helps.  Specialized knowledge does too.  But the true game changer for success – on or off the field – is consistency.

Watching from the sidelines I see the progress week over week in the kids who are there early, do the drills in between games reliably, and don’t miss a practice. Their consistency is paying off and nudging them ahead. Research tells us the same thing happens in other parts of life too.

Consistency is a behaviour, or performance with a pattern to it.  And it’s a key determinant to what we know about impact and strong leadership. Here are four reasons why we should be looking for it in our leaders and across our organizations:

  1. Progress is a Long-Game:

There are so few touchdowns in life.  More often, it’s a series of hard-fought, iterative steps that lands progress and change. This applies to building a strong culture – an organization’s single most powerful advantage as companies with strong cultures have shown up to a 4x increase in revenue growth. Depending on size, culture change in an organization can take 3-5 years. Teams that are consistent in their commitment to progress can shave time off that journey – and do a better job bringing people better along for it.

2. Trust Needs Proof:

We trust people, brands, products, and organizations who say they’re going to do something – and then do it.  Potential or promise can be an overvalued commodity. But results repeatedly achieved give us something to put real stock in. That applies at the personal level, too. Recent Edelman Trust Barometer results tell us “My Employer” is the highest trusted institution today measured at 79% (government by comparison scores 53%.) There are a lot of managers and leaders consistently showing up for their people to earn those kinds of top grades, which is great to see.

3. It's Consistency That Builds Momentum, Not Vision Statements:

Most organizations set strategic plans in 3-5 year increments.  Writing the strategic plan is the easy part; landing it is where the rubber hits the road.  Organizations that bring consistency to execution discipline, identify risks and mitigate them efficiently, regularly invest in skills training for their people and engage partners/stakeholders meaningfully and consistently are the ones that hit their goals most frequently.  Disciplined cultures sustain positive movement and often outperform their peers as a result.

4. Here When You Need Me:

Think about that person you call when you’ve had a rough day or are going through a difficult period.  How important that lifeline is in your overall “resilience toolkit.”

Research tells us that close friendships take around 200 hours to develop. Reliability is a cornerstone of that bond. I see this in my personal life and at work in UNICEF's long-term relationships with governments around the world. We don’t pop in and out. We’re there before, during, and after emergencies, consistently working with governments in nearly every country of the world.  This track record allows us to hit scale and impact at a deeper level for children. We’ve been in Zimbabwe for 42 years.  Somalia for 52 years. Yemen for nearly 54.  And Uganda for more than six decades.  Governments trust us to help them deliver needs for kids. And we consistently do.

Whether from the sidelines, the frontlines, the boardroom or anything in between, consistency has a common view.  It’s indeed a superpower; available to anyone and any organization willing to (consistently) apply it.