In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about consistency in execution.

Consistency is something very important to Steli and Hiten and it is what makes the difference between good teams and great ones.

Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thoughts on how teams execute consistently, why it’s important to do so, tips to help you and your team become more consistent and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:28 Steli introduces today’s episode.

01:41 Why it’s important to have values as an organization and be consistent at living them.

02:08 Why you need rules and guidelines to be consistent.

02:24 Why clarity is important to achieve consistency.

03:33 You should be able to demonstrate that every team member is committed to the guidelines.

03:30 Why it’s important to have your values written down.

04:11 The definition of consistency.

04:49 Some reasons why teams are not consistent.

05:46 How you can be consistent.

07:23  Steli has an “aha” moment.

3 Key Points:

  • If you have values, you should consistent in living them as an organization.
  • You can’t be consistent without having your values written down.
  • If we want to be the greatest team there is, we can’t fuck around.


Steli: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti with The Startup Chat. And for the first time in over three years, I’ve messed up. I forgot to hit the record button at the first two or three minutes of the podcast today. The topic is gonna be about consistency and execution. Now I obviously broke the rule not consistently clicking the record button. And here’s what we’re gonna talk about. The meat, the best content of the episode is all recorded, so don’t worry. But I just want wanted to reintroduce it so the episode doesn’t start kind of in a weird way. Consistency is one of the most important topics for me personally, I know for as well. It is what makes the difference between people and teams, and companies that are good, versus those that are truly great. It is the enabling factor to true greatness in my opinion. And in today’s podcast, we’re gonna unpack that. We’re gonna poke holes in this theory. We’re gonna challenge each other. We’re gonna talk about how teams execute consistently, why it’s important, and how you can think about it in a little bit of a different way that might enable you to become a lot more consistent and kill it in your execution. All right, without further ado, enjoy the episode.



Hiten: Being consistent and living those values as an organization. So if you have values, are you consistent in living them as an organization? If you don’t have values, then I think I’ll drop a Stelli bomb and say, “Why the fuck don’t you have values?” Why haven’t you written them down? You can’t be consistent without having some level of values written down or represented in some way, so that the company can literally follow them. So consistency doesn’t come without, for a lack of a better word, rules.



Steli: You need rules, you need guidelines, you need clarity, right?



Hiten: Right.



Steli: What-



Hiten: Clarity.



Steli: Clarity. What does execution mean for us? What is really important? What is valued within our company and within our team and organization? And then once you have that level of clarity, you have to have the conviction to enforce those rules or those guidelines. You have to prove that those are not nice to has, but those are not just like cool ideas that you’d like to sometimes adhere to. But you have to demonstrate that everybody has a level of commitment to these rules, to these guidelines, to these values. And whoever can’t keep up with that, or whoever isn’t as committed to these, can’t be part of the team, can’t be part of this company. Right? You have to have real conviction in uncomfortable moments to enforce them, right? So everybody knows that this shit is for real. This is not just lip service. This is not nice to haves. These are absolute must-haves, and we’re all committed to it. And if we wanna be the greatest team there is, we can fuck around and we can’t do this sometimes, or a little bit. We’re doing it all the time, and we’re all in on these.



Hiten: Yeah. Exactly. I think that that’s really the gist of it, right? If you can’t come up with what those things are, then you’re not gonna be able to move. You’re not gonna be able to do anything. Your efforts towards consistency will literally be non-existent. And that’s something that I think people have a hard time with. ‘Cause we’re not naturally inclined to be like, “Oh, I should live up to these values that I have. And if I don’t know what they are, then how can I live up to them?” Is essentially what if I were a sort of team member in a company, that’s what I’d be thinking. Yeah, so if you have no values written down, or you have no ability to communicate them, there’s no clarity around what they are. Then the consistency just doesn’t happen. And for us, I think defining consistency is literally like when the same thing, when something happens to an organization, there’s a … Whether it’s a fire or a good thing, or a day-to-day what people are doing, are they consistent? Was there a consistent communication coming from the company to their customers? When a customer comes in and they’re very angry, how do you respond? Is that response consistent when one person comes with kind of anger towards a company, or criticism? Is that consistent when someone else comes to the company with anger and criticism, and things like that? And part of this is like, not knowing how people are actually interacting with customers, or interacting with the world between the company and the world. And so there’s also a component of visibility. If you wanna get consistent in your company and have execution consistent, whatever that is for you, then you need to be able to understand how people are communicating. You need to be … And I mean even communicating internally. So one thing for us is, one of my companies is we have these processes that happen. And for a long time we’ve been honestly, a bad kinda consistency. We’ve been consistently late on saying we’re gonna ship a product on a certain timeline, and actually making it happen. I know all of you listening, including Stelli is like, “Yeah, that’s common, dude.” Yeah, but to me that consistency of not doing it is a big problem. It is a massive problem. So now every Monday there’s actually a meeting that a couple people have. And they talk about the projects and the timeline, and where we’re at. Right? That’s cool. That happens, that should happen. And they’re talking about where we’re at and whether we’re gonna make it on the dates we set like a week ago, a month ago, or whatever it is based on the timeline. Then we do one more thing, which is we literally have a document that talks about each project whenever it does actually get delivered, how late it was, what the project was, how late it was, who was involved, and why it was late.



Steli: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Hiten: And then what we’re gonna do about it next time. And so I think there’s this level of brutal honesty and granularity when it comes consistency that I don’t see most people doing when they have a problem or a pattern. So to me, consistency of execution start with knowing, when we say we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do it. So that’s the value, right?



Steli: Yeah.



Hiten: Then it comes to, “Okay, in what areas of the business are we not doing that that are really important to us right now?” We might even list all those out and prioritize, “Okay, these are the ones that are most important.” Shipping product to customers is super important, it’s top of the list. Right?



Steli: Mm-hmm (affirmative).



Hiten: “Well guess what? We’re failing. We got an F there.” Right? I’d even like score it like your in school, right? “We get an F there. We get a straight up F.” So then we put all our energy towards figuring out why, and then getting to an A plus as fast as possible. That to me is a representation of how to go from a bad type of consistency, a pattern that’s bad to getting that consistent execution that makes everyone proud.



Steli: I love that. ‘Cause this is such a gem, I don’t want even wanna ruin it with a lot more detail. This is gonna be a really short episode. But you know, I just had an ah-ha moment where I thought, “Maybe it’s not … Maybe you’re always consistent.” The question just is, “Are you consistently good, or consistently bad, or consistently inconsistent in your results.” Right?



Hiten: I love it.



Steli: So maybe-



Hiten: It’s so powerful.



Steli: And maybe the reframing here is that we’re all consistent. We just have to take a really good brutal, honest look at what kind of output are we putting out there in the world. Are we consistently late? Are we consistently up and down in terms of our results? Or are we consistently keeping our word to ourselves, to our customers, to our teammates? And executing them the highest level without any excuses or explanations? So we all just have to move from wherever we are the consistency level, or range, all the way to the consistently good execution level.



Hiten: I like that. So we’re always consistent. Are we just consistent in the wrong ways or the ways we don’t wanna be?



Steli: Yeah.



Hiten: And how do we change that?



Steli: Yeah.



Hiten: Which you now have a framework from us.



Steli: Beautiful. Well, I will wrap this up. Thank you for listening. Very soon.



Hiten: Later.