My friend, Carl Bacon, and I have discussed the topic of what side of the road one should drive on; if you’ve witnessed Carl and me together, you’re not surprised to hear we disagree on this topic. The Brits, as you no doubt are aware, drive on the left side while Americans (and just about everyone else in the universe) drive on the right, which arguably IS the right side. Okay, so we agree that we disagree on this.
Americans are consistent about this notion of being on the right side in everything we do: walking down the street, we walk on the right; riding a bike, we ride on the right; pass someone while riding a horse, you pass on the right; going up a flight of stairs, we walk on the right. What about in the UK? Well, it doesn’t take long to realize that they’re a bit agnostic about this, and while folks generally walk on the right side of the sidewalk (not the left as you might expect), you’ll see escalators which are sometimes going up on the left side while at other times they’re on the right (just visit some of the underground stations to witness this inconsistency).
And so, what the heck does this have to do with performance? We need to be consistent. When you employ policies, you have to be consistent.
When we conduct GIPS(R) (Global Investment Performance Standards) verifications, we look for consistency. Firms get to make many of their own rules up; as long as they’re reasonable, fine! But, they have to be consistent in executing them. Otherwise, they’ve got problems.