It’s early on Saturday morning, and I am a bummed out sports fan.
Last night, my favorite basketball team — the Indiana Pacers — where annihilated and eliminated by the Miami Heat. If you follow sports at all, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the antics of Pacer Lance Stephenson, who — in an attempt to rattle the world’s greatest basketball player, LeBron James — blew in his competitor’s ear, tweaked his face, and in a myriad of other ways simply acted like a total jerk.
To the casual fan, this conduct is bewildering. To those of us who have followed the soap opera nature of “Good Lance” versus “Bad Lance,” this behavior…in an elimination game during a season that held such incredible promise…is maddening and frustrating beyond description.
- What does this mean to you? When I look at the Pacers’ season — something that started so gloriously and ended so ghastly — it’s pretty obvious that where their performance jumped the track was when they started playing so inconsistently.
My forthcoming book is based on the story I’ve been telling for many years about my experiences with a Jacksonville, Florida cab driver named “Taxi Terry.” It describes the seven lessons I learned from that first single ride — and it’s titled, “7 Tenets of Taxi Terry: How Every Employee Can Create and Deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience.”
The fourth of the tenets — which is defined as “one of the founding principles upon which a belief, philosophy, or action is based” — is: Think Logically and Then Act Creatively and Consistently.
For the Pacers, or for YOUR business, you logically draw up a game plan that will create marketplace distinction. Then, you take action in a creative and consistent manner. Perhaps in this tenet, the key word is “AND.”
- Thinking logically without action will have zero impact in the marketplace. However, acting creatively without consistency dooms you to failure.
Taxi Terry was highly creative in his approach — from opening the experience with, “Are you ready for the best cab ride of your life?” to other various details, he was remarkably innovative while providing a service perceived as a commodity.
However, it’s important to note that he’s consistent. He’s always waiting at the airport when I arrive. He always gets me to my destination. He always has his car clean and serviced. He’s always friendly and helpful. It doesn’t matter how creative he may be…if he fails to consistently pick up the passenger who will be paying his fare on time, every time.
Creativity without consistency is catastrophe in business.
The Pacers season was doomed by inconsistency, brought about by what the awesome sports columnist for the Indianapolis Star, Bob Kravitz, called “emotional immaturity.” Lance’s antics couldn’t be supported by consistent performance…and he evidently isn’t emotionally mature enough, or personally disciplined enough, to deliver what his customers (called “fans”) desired.
(And, as a loyal Pacers supporter…don’t get me started on the inconsistency of Roy Hibbert…)
So that WE don’t fall into the same trap, we’ve got to ask for our careers and organizations:
- Are we thinking logically?
- Do we have a game plan that will create distinction in the marketplace?
- Are we creative in our approach to customers, prospects, and colleagues?
- Perhaps most important, are we CONSISTENT in our delivery of our products and services?
- Are we just as consistent in how we create and deliver the customer experience?
Take it from me…your organization doesn’t need more Lance Stephensons…but, to grow your business, you DO require more Taxi Terrys.