Spring training for Major League Baseball players is all about practicing the right concepts and covering all likely scenarios. Once the skills are honed, what you hear from most managers, coaches and players is that they need to see consistency.

Sure, players might have a great spring and make the big leagues, but if they don't consistently perform, they will be sent back to the minor leagues on the next bus.

Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said: "Whatever your job is, consistency is the hallmark. It's much more important than doing something spectacular just once. Do your job consistently and you will be considered good."

Torre was talking about much more than baseball. Life, like America's pastime, is all about consistency. Consistency might sound downright boring, but it's a critical element of success.

"Variety may be the spice of life, but consistency pays the bills," observes Doug Cooper, author of "Outside In."

Being consistent applies to all areas: school, work and family. If you are raising children, you know all about being consistent.

If you are running a restaurant, you are very familiar with the importance of consistency. Every food item must be served the same way every time. Customers expect it.

I occasionally go to McDonald's, not because they have the best hamburger, but because I know exactly what I'm going to get. I don't like surprises.

It's the same with any brand. When your audience sees and hears a consistent message from your brand, it reinforces your unique selling proposition in their minds. By knowing what they can expect from your brand, and hearing it multiple times, they will begin to assign a higher value and trust in your business — and it shows that you take your business seriously.

Are you aware of the three C's of customer service?

1. Consistency

2. Consistency

3. Consistency

It means providing predictable, reliable results to the customer or client every time.

Employees should expect the same consistency as customers. Employees should always know what is expected of them and how they will be treated.

"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals," said the late Jim Rohn, a friend and crony of mine.

Big goals require three things: a plan, commitment to carry out that plan and consistency. Getting started is hard enough, but consistently carrying out your plan is more difficult. Even the best business plans will fail without a dedication to consistency.

How many people started out the year with plans to work out more, get in better shape and lose some weight? Without consistency, those resolutions go down the drain in weeks.

Say you set a goal to run a marathon, as I did years ago (I completed 10 of them). You must organize a consistent practice schedule and be consistent in your workouts, rain or shine. Missing a workout is like telling a lie, and the next lies come easier and easier.

Remember Aesop's fable about the tortoise and the hare. When the two raced, the swift hare, assured of its great advantage over the slow and lowly tortoise, took a commanding lead but ultimately lost after arrogantly taking a nap on the course.

Are you a tortoise or a hare? Keep your eye on the prize, and consistency will get you there.

Mackay's Moral: If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.