A certain airline evoked plenty of excitement when they announced their entrance into the largely uninspiring Nigerian aviation scene. It was no surprise, having a new option to choose from is always a welcome idea, especially when passengers have had to deal with incessant inefficiencies from a considerable number of existing airlines in the form of delayed flights, suddenly cancelled flights, aloof personnel and other sundry customer service failures. This excitement kicked up a notch when the new entrant began to publicise its extensive destinations and latest fleet acquisitions. Turns out that we should have celebrated with caution.
One of the greatest challenges that have become synonymous with both private and public institutions in Nigeria is disorganisation. Call it ‘anyhowness’, inconsistency or negligence, and you’ll be speaking the same language. Corporate organisations should ordinarily be devoid of all the bureaucracy and needless frustration that comes with dealing with most government parastatals, but that’s not the case. These days, the ones who should provide an alternate reality are giving government something to think about when it comes to inefficiency.
The story is often different in the beginning.
They start off with so much promise and many times, there’s an actual promise to be a departure from the norm, but a few years down the line, things change so much you start to wonder if it’s the same entity.
There’s a pervading problem of inconsistency that continues to plague society on an individual and group level. For the individual, it’s in the resolutions that are made in the anticipated frenzy of an incoming year. Marital new entrants vow their marriage will not go the way of many others whose unions have hit an irreversible halt; the greenhorn employee avers that they will be the model staff; presidential hopefuls declare they will transform Nigeria to a United Arab Emirates of sorts.
Barely three weeks into the new year, the resolutions are a distant memory. One year later, the now-married couple lead separate lives and are only bound by the letterings on a piece of paper; the erstwhile jaded job seeker has mutated into the nemesis of his employers, and the now-president reels out excuse after excuse as to why he cannot make good his word.
The rational, logical individual wants to be perceived as good even when he knows this isn’t the reality. It’s why we rarely display our not-so-flattering side. It also explains the big budgets that go into advertising and public relations—and why buzz words and phrases like ‘innovative’ and ‘cutting edge’ are deployed to excite prospective customers.
However, the simple act of repeatedly doing the right thing is often sufficient to retain clients and even attract new ones.
Every time images of the airline and how they are the next best thing after a bowl of sour garri and cold water on a hot day are displayed on my TV screen, I am miffed because it’s evident they are selling a lie. Every day, there are bitter complaints (some of which have ended in lawsuits) about their dreadful service from customers, yet they seem to be more concerned about buffering a non-existent image.
How about just airlift passengers at the time stated on your website and getting them to their destination in one piece?
Consistency is not the easiest thing because it requires a huge dose of discipline, but it certainly requires less energy, time, and effort than damage control. More often than not, what’s important is that people know you are reliable…they can trust you. They have seen you do it time and again.
You may think they do not notice, but your partner can see that you are putting in the effort to keep the smile on their face. Employers know who to trust to deliver (or at least to put in their best) when the team is in a fix. And politicians? Their legacy always does the storytelling—whether good, mediocre or bad.
In essence, the year is still in the neophyte stage. You may not have a grand plan on how to ‘kill it’ in your personal or professional life, but you can at least be consistent in the things that have proven to work for you over time.
Innovation is great, collaboration is fantastic, but consistency will get you everywhere.