The Second Operational Imperative

Long-term organizational success and sustainability require leadership’s dedication to three operational imperatives.

The first is clarity of purpose, which I explored throughout 2022. The third is engagement of people, which I’ll be writing about throughout 2024. This year Business Growth Digest will focus on the second, consistency of performance.

The easiest, most effective, and longest lasting strategy for attracting and retaining clients is to consistently set expectations and fulfill them. Period.

When an organization sets expectations and fulfills them, it creates an unspoken bond of psychological dependence often ascribed to loyalty. But that’s the smallest part of the attraction.

An organization can begin to set expectations through public relations. They clarify and solidify those expectations, i.e., benefits, through marketing. The organization commits to them during the sales process as prospects become clients. This is the business courting ritual. When that ritual meets everyone’s expectations, the prospect become customer has no reason to look for other vendors.

This is when the greatest value of the second imperative comes into play.

The highest, most perfect form of promotion, marketing and attracting new clients comes from your existing clients. Every time a client is a repeat customer, they’re endorsing your organization, again and again, over, and over. And every time they tell someone about their positive experience, they’re endorsing your organization.

The level of uncertainty and unmet expectations in most people’s lives is a relentless weight on their shoulders. People are naturally attracted to opportunities to be free of that burden. When the experience of others is desired by the observer, that observer usually choses to follow that same path toward satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is why consistency of performance is the second operational imperative.

The ability of an organization to deliver on this imperative depends on setting expectations and meeting them. It has nothing to do with price or quality.

There are three keys to creating and maintaining a consistent level of performance.

First, engineer operational processes. This is the role of the business plan.

Second, develop marketing plans for each market segment. Marketing plans have a heavy load in this process.

The role of the developing and executing your marketing plans is to identify target markets, prospect wants, needs, obstacles, lingo, points of resistance, and pricing along with milestones to measure progress and success.

This is also where you design a consistent and regular level of communication about expectations between you and your customer to ensure they don’t develop unrealistic ones.

Third, staff must be able to fulfill those expectations.

Fulfillment becomes a function of operations. Receiving, processing, and delivering products and services as well as providing client support must be consistent and dependable. When operations are engineered to fulfill expectations, staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities, and execute them to close the loop on expectations and deliver as promised.

The classic example is McDonald’s. They don’t make great food; they don’t even make good food. What they make is food that’s the same no matter where or when you buy it. You always know what to expect when you order something from them. They are the prototypical example of consistent performance.

Whoever thought there would be value in a university that taught people how to make hamburgers or fries? Their model of consistency has overcome every operational, financial, and quality barrier and become one of the most successful retail businesses on the planet.

Can you duplicate their level of consistent performance? They are the gold standard your organization should be striving for IF you want long-term organizational success and sustainability.

If this sounds like something you’d like to talk about developing for your company, or if you’ve been pursuing this type of consistent performance and running into barriers, stop working in a vacuum. Email me at or call 916-798-0600 to schedule a no-obligation, no-cost call, Zoom session, or face-to-face meeting to talk about your situation and how you can make it better.

We’ll talk about what makes your business special. We’ll go through a 25-minute discovery session to find your obstacles and barriers.

With the dramatic changes happening around us, now is THE best time to begin.

You’ll find more on business, leadership, and change in my Mandelblog, the information source leaders depend on. For more on the Business Managers Reality Index, or to schedule an Index survey for your company, email


Subscribe To My Newsletter.

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!