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Is consistency the key to a successful business?

We're often told that big ideas, strokes of genius, and taking (the right) risks are key to success. But could the real secret lie in consistency?


Simple, logical, and repeatable, they don’t sound like words that are going to set the world alight, but what if you knew they were the secret behind the global success of Mcdonald’s?

Marianne Page spent almost 30 years perfecting the recipe for success under the golden arches and believes that knowledge can help businesses of all sizes use systems and processes to get ahead. So what can we learn from it?

The McFreedom System

It all stems from The McFreedom System®. A system that has been key to Mcdonald’s being consistent, reliable, and trusted despite being a huge global operation.

There are four main strands to the system:

  • Planning – clarity around your destination and your route map to get you there.
  • Process – simplicity of your customer’s journey through your business.
  • People – effective hiring and training so people know ‘how we do things around here’ to deliver consistently high standards.
  • Performance – ability to measure and manage performance to keep everyone on track.

The consistency test

You’re probably not looking to have a franchise of your business on every global high street, but just for a second imagine you were. If there was a market for your services in every city, how easy would it be to make a carbon copy of your business and replicate your success? Could you scale and still offer the same level of service? Or would it be impossible to unpick what makes your business tick?

To grow we need to have an understanding of what brings success – and how that success happens. And that starts with the consistency of systems and consistency from the people using those systems.

From consistency comes freedom

If you’re operating in a creative or fast-moving sector, you could be forgiven for fearing processes and systems could stifle ideas and innovation. But having consistency at the heart of your business gives the creative minds in your business freedom to thrive. And as a leader consistency in your business gives you the freedom to focus on the bigger picture and the space to lead.

How can we apply the McFreedom system to our business?

If you want to make sure you’re operating with consistency, start with these six questions:

Do we have a clear vision for the business?

This needs to go beyond a company mission or purpose statement. It needs to be focused goals with a clear, actionable, and accountable roadmap that will get you there.

Do we know who are customers are and what they want from us?

Try to go beyond simple personas and explore what needs you fulfil and what problems you solve. Can you make the customer journey better by simplifying processes or introducing new ones?   

Am I prioritising the right things?

As a leader, it’s easy to get dragged into the day to day and to want to have an input in all kinds of projects and decisions. But this can derail systems and processes – and take you away from the strategic work you should be focusing on. If you want a consistent business, it starts from the top.

Could we do things in a better way?

An audit of current processes is the best way to see where you need to create change. If it’s simple, logical and repeatable, you’re probably on the right track, if it’s a long-standing routine that’s ‘just the way it is’ you know what to do.

Is everyone on the same page?

To deliver consistent high-quality everyone needs to know the part they play and how to play it.  Don’t be afraid of how-to manuals and documenting processes and systems. Hiring the right people and giving them the right tools will make sure everyone is on the same page.

Are we measuring progress?

Consistency doesn’t just come from implementing the right processes but ensuring they continue to be fit for purpose and deliver results. How will you measure the performance of your team and track the efficiency of processes?

The right foundations

At the heart of Simple, Logical, Repeatable is the importance of putting the right foundations in place to build and scale your business. Systems and procedures might sound mundane, but they are the bedrock of the consistency that will give your team the confidence to deliver great work and you the confidence to let them.