This time we can link a couple of topics together. Let’s look at number 3 on the list – poor communication, and number 6, lack of consistency.

Poor communication – whose fault is that? It’s got to be at least partly yours. If your systems are adequate, then you will have some sort of reporting or procedure from your colleagues that will highlight problems or confirm that things have been done as they should. If that isn’t in place, then their communications to you will be poor and inevitably you will end up discussing the same point time and again with a cost in money and stress. You have to be clear and follow your own systems too, or you will get the same result.

Clarity and consistency should be everybody’s watchwords. We’ve talked about it in Treat them like dogs. Like communication, consistency is a two-way street. If you have put in the work to create adequate systems which are capable of producing predictable results and reports, but not everybody follows them, then you need to be asking why.

A strange phenomenon often happens when you improve your systems. If they are introduced properly, you get very good buy in from your colleagues. Maybe except one or two of them. They are the ones that revel in disruption and hide behind lack of process – the ones who aren’t quite bad enough to start performance management or disciplinary issues. One of two things then happens. Either they feel quite isolated, as all their peers are complying, and they start fitting in, or they find it so uncomfortable that they leave. Either way, your working life gets easier and generally more profitable.

Make no mistake, this all starts at the top. You have to be consistent – you can’t expect everybody else to follow the rules, but not you. You will lose respect, and people will follow your example. You have to be boringly predictable. It’s the way to get predictable, but hopefully not boring results.