• “You can always count on him, he will never let us down.”
  • “We can set the clock by her, she always delivers on time.”
  • “I’ll have the usual large double double.”

When a customer favours you, it shows they have confidence in you, that you are a reliable supplier, partner, a trusted advisor.

With so much uncertainty in the market, in global affairs, in supply chain, coupled with the challenges with labour forces, it’s getting tougher and tougher to achieve this. And this uncertainty makes it tougher for customers to assess this uncertainty. Who do we turn to when we don’t know what to do? To trusted relationships, to our trusted advisors.

During my in-depth interviews of business leaders for my book The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It, being consistent was found to be a key behaviour to build reliability, familiarity and trust.

People don’t like being blindsided and we don’t like change. We don’t like late deliveries, cancelled shipments, substitutions, or hidden fees. We want orders to arrive on schedule, we want the same service and product as the last time, and we want people to behave the way they usually do. When change happens, trust will get you further than any other single asset.

Consistency increases familiarity, reduces risk, and increases certainty and trust.

The opposite is also true. This is why change is so challenging for individuals to experience. Uncertainty raises doubts, skepticism, and disappointment, each of which erode trust.

So what can business owners do to emphasize consistency?

Roll out the rituals. A ritual is a way of doing something in the same way every time, and every successful organization has them: Guinness, BMW, Starbucks, Walmart, and FedEx just to name a few.

Traditions and rituals are effective tools which every business can incorporate to build, strengthen, and protect trust. Companies with higher levels of trust outperform their peers financially, are more desirable employers, and have less client turnover.

Universities and educational institutions have many rituals, the most iconic is the graduation ceremony. It’s a powerful tradition where a university engages and connects with its important stakeholders. My son, Patrick, graduated this month with the cap and gown, the diploma, in the presence of robed faculty and proud parents. Walking across the stage is a symbol of heading into the next stage of life. Universities do it every single year, in the spring, on schedule, executed with the same agenda and protocols. No surprises. The pageantry emphasizes the university’s traditions, values and commitment to its graduates, alumni, patrons, faculty, and staff.

Like the four seasons of the year, we know after the winter, spring comes, followed by summer and fall. This consistency, predictability and familiarity of the rituals of planting, harvesting, resting and renewal build assurance, reliability and trust.

Here are 3 examples of how rituals can be incorporated into your businesses:

  • Onboarding new employees – Consistently creating the same experience for each new employee. One of my clients, places a personalized welcome note from CEO on the desk for every new employee, another places the name on digital signage. Another gives new employees a company branded coffee mug and a senior leader meets them for coffee on the first day to share the company’s vision and values.
  •        Events - Consistently hosting, sponsoring, or participating in an event like charity golf tournament, a customer user conference, an annual picnic, a community fundraising event
  •          Publicly recognizing years of service, customer loyalty safety, promotions, sales person of the month, outstanding performance in a ceremony and or using symbols

When you create and consistently practice rituals, traditions are formed, a sense of belonging is enhanced and reliability is strengthened, which in turn builds trust inside and outside of your organization.

What rituals do you and your business practice?

I’d love to hear from you!

Contact me (email, phone or LinkedIn) to receive 10 Practical Tips to Apply Consistently to Your Organization.