06 Nov '09
The Danger of Inconsistency
One of the traits that builds great trust between leaders and those they lead is personal and organizational consistency: the knowledge that what is said is meant and what is meant is lived out. Inconsistency breeds mistrust while consistency breeds trust.
A lack of consistent direction plagues many ministries. When a pastor suggests a direction to his staff that is different than what the board has decided, one has inconsistency. When leaders change their minds on directional issues on a regular basis there is inconsistency. When a stated direction or conviction is easily changed or violated, there is inconsistency. When people are allowed to violate stated commitments there is inconsistency.
Inconsistency confuses people - breeds cynicism and sends a message that what we say we are committed to is negotiable after all. If a leader can violate stated convictions, why cannot others - and they will. One of the reasons that values and guiding principles are viewed with some suspicion is that people have seen such values written and then ignored all too often. It is better not to write them than to do so and violate them. The same is true for other commitments that are made about who the organization is, what it is committed to and how it intends to move forward.
Many in our organization have heard me state, "Do not underestimate my resolve" around our mission, our values, our central ministry purpose and our preferred culture. Our stated commitments around these four areas which describe who we are are deep and carved in stone. We believe what we say and are committed to getting to what we believe. It is not always done perfectly but we want to do it consistently and send a strong message that these commitments are non-negotiable and will be lived out.
How strong is your resolve around your organizational commitments? Are your commitments and actions in alignment? Are you consistent with your message? Would those you lead be able to articulate what your commitments are? Do they know you are really serious about them? Is your board serious about what they say is important?