Posts Tagged ‘consistency’

daddy-young-man-1If my dad were still alive, he’d turn 90 next month. That sounds really old to me, but I am reminded that he and my mom came to parenthood later in life, after he’d almost finished his veterinary degree and after several years of heartbreaking miscarriages, the last of which almost killed my mom.

After Dad and Mom realized they wouldn’t be able to have biological children, they still wanted a family, so they decided to adopt children and love them as their own. (more…)

Daddy as a little boyMy dad was the first quintessential leader I encountered in life. He wasn’t perfect – none of us are – but who he was and how he lived his life was anchored to the principles of quintessential leadership.

In the years since Daddy’s death in 1998, I’ve met and or reconnected with many people who knew my dad well and one of the things I’ve consistently heard about him was that he was a good man, a kind man, and a gentle man with an open heart ready to serve and open ears and time ready to listen. (more…)

Daddy as a little boyMy dad was the first quintessential leader I encountered in life. He wasn’t perfect – none of us are – but who he was and how he lived his life was anchored to the principles of quintessential leadership.

In the years since Daddy’s death in 1998, I’ve met and or reconnected with many people who knew my dad well and one of the things I’ve consistently heard about him was that he was a good man, a kind man, and a gentle man with an open heart ready to serve and open ears and time ready to listen. (more…)

Anakin Skywalker Before He Became Darth Vader

With the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens on December 17, 2015, it is a good time to consider, from a quintessential leader perspective, how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.

It is also a good time to reflect on how many of the same traits that led Anakin Skywalker down the path of unquintessential leadership are shared, in some measure, by his son, Luke Skywalker, and how those may affect what happens as this Star Wars trilogy unfolds. (more…)

Contract/temporary employee hiring models look good in the short term, but cost big in the long termMany organizations have adopted a rental model in filling professional positions that require extensive knowledge and experience, as well as in-depth training to get up to speed on the particular projects that these contract/temporary professionals will be working to complete.

The current model of employment looks more like an inventory model (just-in-time) than a well-thought-out business model. It is certainly not a quintessential leader model.

The pros look attractive to organizations from a short-sighted upfront monetary point of view.

Organizations don’t have to deal with the financial and physical overhead of a competitive salary, benefits, a permanent workspace and equipment, and payroll costs (most contract/temporary employees are either paid through a staffing agency that handles payroll or via a 1099 that makes the employee responsible for their own taxes at the end of the year) that a full-time employee incurs.

Profits are a short-term goal, but they won't stay if the infrastructure - including knowledgeable, high-performing employees - are in placeSo, in the short-term, organizations, at least on paper, look like they’re saving a lot of money using contract/temporary employees. Profits are higher. The board of directors is happy. The shareholders are happy. The executive officers are happy.

But the cons, which affect the long run, will eventually make everybody unhappy, and if this current trend lasts several decades, many of these organizations will not exist.


Whether an organization hires a permanent employee or a contract/temporary employee, the same upfront investments have to be made. Because they don’t get translated in monetary terms, they don’t get factored into the cost of having a predominantly constantly-changing contract/temporary workforce.

One of those upfront investments is training. For professional positions, the training can be quite extensive (or it should be – too often the training is haphazard and poor, with the contract/temporary employees thrown in and left to fend for themselves, which causes delays, errors, missed deadlines, and project failures).

Generally, organizations do the same kinds of projects over and over. The details change, but the scope and type of projects is the same.

Typically, contract/temporary employees are hired for a single project and then they are gone and all the knowledge and training they have goes with them.

This means a new batch of contract/temporary employees must be hired for the next project and the same investment in training made all over again.

Only to walk out the door when the project is over, meaning this cycle happens over and over and over again.

Quality is sacrificed with the professional contract/temporary employee model.This is an undocumented cost, but it is huge in the long run. Projects are affected dramatically in terms of productivity and milestone/deadline timeliness, as well as in terms of quality of service.

The net effect is the projects don’t get completed on time, they don’t have a consistent standard of quality, and customers end up unhappy because they don’t get what they paid for.

Customer satisfaction will be eroded by a revolving door of temporary/contract professional writers.This con is lost business both in existing customers who go elsewhere and new customers who don’t show up because they’ve heard quality and service is inconsistent at best and bad at worst.

The long-term con of hiring contract/temporary employees on a project basis instead of hiring full-time, permanent employees is that eventually there will be no customers and the organization will be forced to close.

The secondary long-term impact (con) of an organization closing is that everyone who is a full-time, permanent employee, from the corner offices to the cubes, will no longer have a job. Additionally, shareholders will lose their investments. And the board of directors won’t have anybody to direct.

Quintessential leaders understand that people – not money or things – are an organization’s most valuable resource. They can – and will – make or break an organization.

Therefore, quintessential leaders know people are the most important investment that an organization can make in the long run, so they invest in full-time permanent professional employees to ensure that a quality and lasting infrastructure is in place to provide consistent, quality, and constantly-increased value-added products and services to existing and new customers.

Money comes and goes. Things work and then they don’t. These can be easily and seamlessly addressed and replaced with very little impact on operations.

However, it doesn’t work that way with people.

People alone can increase the worth, the quality, the reputation of an organization. People have experience and knowledge and are able to add to those to bring even more worth to an organization.

When people are a revolving-door commodity, as in the case of most organizations now, increased experience and knowledge walk out with each project, and each next project is basically like starting all over again.

But this cycle gets repeated again and again with the contract/temporary professional employee hiring model.

It makes no sense to use an inventory model as a business model, especially when the cons (and actual costs) far outweigh the pros in the long run.

It is more evidence that there are very few quintessential leaders in decision-making positions in most organizations.

Because if there were, we would not see the contract/temporary professional employee model that most organizations are using, because they’d have the vision to realize what the long-term costs and outcomes would be.

What kind of professional employee model do you and your organization use?

Do you know the investment costs and the long-term costs of the model you use?

Is talent, knowledge, and experience walking out the door every time projects are completed?

It’s time to carefully consider these things.

How are we doing? 



the quintessential leader building trust and being trust worthy book

In the first post of this series, the excerpt from chapter 1 included a list of all the components we must develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy.

In the subsequent chapter excerpts detailing the components we need to have and develop to build trust and be trustworthy, chapter 2 discusses honesty, chapter 3 discusses integrity, and chapter 4 discusses fairness, chapter 5 discusses righting wrongs, and chapter 6 discusses accountability.

This post, which includes an excerpt from chapter 7, discusses the component of consistency that builds trust and makes us trustworthy.

Being consistent in our lives as humans is often very difficult. The reasons for this difficulty are quite simple:

  • Our conduct is a reflection of our feelings, which are constantly changing, instead of our thinking, which is – or should be – more unchangeable in all the things and ways that matter
  • We do not have a solid foundation and core of principles, absolute right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, and good and bad that we adhere to ourselves and apply equally to everything and everyone else in our lives without exception

Inconsistency is extremely damaging in every way.

It creates instability, unreliability, fear, reluctance, malaise, disenfranchisement, alienation, and excessively-high stress levels.

Inconsistency completely inhibits the ability to plan, to project, and to grow. It also prevents teams from developing and reaching their potential and will eventually lead to high attrition rates. 

And, yet, consistency is impossible to find in many people who are leadership positions today. Randomness and chaos seem to rule every corner of the world and that is a big contributor to the prevalent lack of trust in and untrustworthiness of the majority of people who are in leadership positions now.

Building trust and being trustworthy is an integrated trait of quintessential leaders.

It is also an integrated trait that all of us – because each and every one of us leads at least one team, small or large, of people in our lives – need to develop and have as part of the core of who we are and what we are. In essence, this trait is at the center of exemplary character and conduct, and none of us should settle for anything less than this in ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, most of us settle for less. A lot less. In ourselves. In others. 

The majority of people in leadership positions today are not trust builders and they are not trustworthy. Many of us, frankly, are also not trust builders and trustworthy.

We live in a world that with no moral code as its foundation that expects trust to be non-existent or broken. Look around. It’s everywhere, including, in many cases, very close to you.

And society has become so accustomed to this that it glorifies it instead of condemning it.

Politicians who lie routinely, who line their pockets with money and perks while making decisions that hurt and destroy the people they are supposed to represent, who cheat on their wives because they can.

Arts and sports celebrities who have no regard for faithfulness to their spouses, who live hedonistic lifestyles that destroy their families, the people around them, and, eventually their lives.

Religious leaders who cheat on their wives, who cheat on their taxes, and who scam their congregations both in how they deceitfully handle the word of God and in coercive and corrupt financial matters, acquiring wealth and power in the process.

Business leaders who destroy millions of lives by deceit, fraud, and illegal actions that result in their employees and customers losing everything while they escape any kind of punitive action and instead reap obscene profits and end their tenures – only to go to another financially lucrative position – with golden parachutes that are equally obscene.

And we, as individual leaders for our teams, who cheat on our taxes, who are routinely dishonest with the children (our own and others) and other people entrusted to us, who routinely steal things from our workplaces (you most likely didn’t pay for that pen you’re using at work, so it doesn’t belong to you), who routinely break traffic laws, who will walk out of stores with something we were not charged for and never think twice about it, who will take extra money that we’re not owed in financial transactions without blinking an eye, who cheat on our spouses, who marry until “divorce do us part,” and who, as a course of habit, break confidences of family and friends, gossip about family and friends behind their backs, and destroy reputations in the process.

Maybe we haven’t thought about building trust and being trustworthy at this kind of nitty gritty level.

But until we do – and we develop and have this trait as the core of who and what we are – we will not build trust and we will not be trustworthy. And we will not be quintessential leaders.

Trust and trustworthiness is probably the single most important trait we can possess. And it is also the most fragile.

It can take a long time to build and be, but it can be broken irreparably in a single second.

Therefore, this is a lifetime work on and in ourselves that we must commit to making an integral part of our character by continually developing it, maintaining it, and growing it. 

This goal should be our goal.

But it requires courage. It requires diligence. It requires vigilance. It requires continual self-examination. It requires continual change. It requires the ability to, much of the time, stand alone to maintain.

It is not for the faint-hearted. It is not for the vacillators. It is not for the crowd-pleasers. It is not for the pretenders. It is not for the wannabes. It is not for the weak.

But if you’re reading this, I know that you’re not any of those kinds of people. Those kinds of people won’t even read this because it requires time, effort, change, and commitment, and too many of us are, sadly, either just too lazy or we just don’t care. 

Building Trust and Being Trustworthy takes an in-depth look at the “this is what it looks like in practice” aspect of each of the components we need to develop and have to build trust and be trustworthy. The second chapter discusses the component of honesty in building trust and being trustworthy.


Excerpt from”Chapter 7: The Consistency Component of Trust and Trustworthiness”

What this means in practical terms is that a quintessential leader is who he or she says he or she is and that he or she is what he or she says they believe – all the time, without exception. When we as quintessential leaders practice consistency, our teams always know what to expect and that helps to create an organized, sensible and predictable environment in which team members can operate, grow, and thrive.

When those who claim to be leaders don’t practice consistency, they become very much like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The environment for their teams is chaotic, confusing and unpredictable and is characterized by constant fear and failure to thrive.

Consistency, like all the other components of trust and trustworthiness, is a rare commodity in any part of life today. It goes hand-in-hand with fairness and character. In society, in parenting, in politics, in religion, and in business, consistency has been replaced by expediency. The lack of consistency that overshadows humanity now is also a reflection of the “it’s all about me” mindset that seems to be the driving force in most people today.

Convictions, commitments, principles are built on foundations of sand that shift continuously (and are, therefore, broken almost as soon as they are made) depending on the situation at the moment. Most people and most people in leadership positions are more concerned about how things will effect them personally and how things look than they are about consistency, fairness, and character. 

That is a sad commentary on what we as a society have become. However, quintessential leaders don’t follow the crowd and allow society to mold and shape them (“everybody else is doing it, so it must be okay”), but instead stay on the path of building trust and being trustworthy and they exhibit consistency no matter what the situation both as leaders and examples to others. 

I was recently at a conference where I saw a lot of glaring examples of inconsistency among people in leadership positions.

But one stood out more than most of the others.

A presenter had three presentations during the conference.

In his first presentation, he made some erroneous and unsupported statements that left many of us scratching our heads.

In his second presentation, he was on target with everything and was able to fully provide support for the whole presentation. 

In his third presentation, he went back to the erroneous and unsupported statements of the first presentation and actually expanded on them.

The problem? The speaker’s second presentation completely contradicted what he said in his first and third presentations.”