Articles

First Place in Consistency

My close friend and neighbor presented me with a trophy for my 60th birthday with the inscription “First Place – Consistency.” I was almost embarrassed by my routines I develop. Some that come to mind include:

  • I delivered daily newspapers for six years as a youth – 365 days a year at 5 a.m. for 75 weekday and 115 weekend subscribers.
  • I ran over 300 days a year for 35 years – usually at least five miles.
  • I met with all direct reports every two weeks. Some for over 20 years and always with an agenda and documented notes from the meeting.
  • I adapted using people’s names after I took a Dale Carnegie class at age 23 and still continue this practice.
  • I joined or volunteered at a social activity at least one night a week for my entire life.

I decided that I should review what I had gained from all this consistency of what can be termed Small Consistent Acts (SCA).

When I delivered the Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., I began to learn how run a business. This included customer service, logistics, supply chain management, accounting and collections. I worked weekends, holidays and the day after my high school prom. There were encounters with crazy dogs and drunks driving cars at 5 a.m. — all of which set me up as a resourceful and dependable employee during my career.

My running became my resource for fitness and mental health, as well as my main source of socialization. I’ve made countless friends from logging thousands of miles together. I completed over 1,000 road races and 34 marathons across the country.

My bi-weekly meetings – termed a Personal Management Interview (PMI) allowed me to stay on track with each direct report and enabled me to include yearly reviews, project updates, and brainstorm with each person. I would always schedule the next PMI before we finished the current one. I am always amazed at how many managers don’t develop a similar routine with all reports.

Using people’s names is free, takes no extra time, and demonstrates your interest in others. The relationships we can develop by learning more about others are remarkable. Many of my original misperceptions of others is shattered when I learn more about who they are

My habit of getting involved with different groups has given me insight into many areas I never knew existed. I have coached many kid’s sports (even ones I never played), umpired, refereed, watched birds, studied beer making and golfed in many leagues. The relationships I have developed through all these opportunities are priceless and tremendously varied. Only hanging with people who look like me would get old in a hurry. My ability to relate to varied groups has made me far more aware of others perspectives.

All of these actions are from SCA that I was able to develop and have helped me grow personally and professionally.


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