When I say “going the extra mile,” what do you think about? Hard work? Doing the unexpected? Other people? Someone special? You?
Where does the Extra Mile come from? How are Extra Mile stories created? What do they mean to companies and people?
Extra Mile actions by individuals (and the ensuing stories attached to them) create the foundation for a company that goes from good to great to world-class, using the power and the strength of internal and external hard work, dedication and loyalty, combined with doing the right thing—no, let me say, doing the best thing for your fellow workers and your customers.
The Extra Mile comes from you. And the Extra Mile stories come from you, based on your ability to think, react, respond, recover, serve and add plus one (the Extra Mile) using your best skills in time of need.
The interesting part about the Extra Mile is that it usually begins when something goes wrong. The weather. The inventory. The delivery. Co-worker needs. Customer needs. Or when incidents or accidents occur that are beyond your control when they happen—but in your control in the way that you respond to them, and the way you react to them.
There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Day
The Extra Mile also comes from service and having a service heart—doing something extra right or extra best.
MAJOR CLUE: The underlying element in the Extra Mile process is your prevailing attitude at the moment an Extra Mile opportunity shows up. If you’re in a bad mood, or a down mood, based on other things that have happened throughout your day, the odds are, when an opportunity arises to turn something bad into something great, you won’t even see it. You’ll look at it as “one more thing in a bad day.”
Let’s get one thing straight: Bad days are self-inflicted. You give them to yourself. And it’s likely when you give them to yourself, you’re also giving them to others. In order for an Extra Mile story to blossom, YOU, most important person in the world, must be mentally prepared to make it blossom.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Every obstacle presents an opportunity.” You’ve also heard, “When it rains lemons, make lemonade.” Those are easy phrases to talk about when there are no obstacles, and it’s NOT raining lemons.
Your challenge as a person of attitude and opportunity is to have a bowl of sugar and a lemon squeezer at your desk at all times, and in your mind at all times, so that when someone calls with a complaint, with an emergency, or with an obstacle of any kind, your first thought is “What is the real opportunity here?” And your second thought is “How can I help?”
They give lemons—you make lemonade because you’re PREPARED and WILLING to make lemonade.
Being alert, being willing, having the right attitude, and being prepared are the prerequisites for going the Extra Mile. And as with all of my lists, ideas and concepts, there’s a .5—the Extra Mile. The .5 is your answer to the question: “AM I DOING MY BEST?”
That’s not just the question you have to ask yourself; that is the mantra by which you guide your career and your life.
I’m going to make you a promise: There’s one Extra Mile story in you, every week. Your job is to recognize it, take the actions with a service heart, document it, learn from it, and get into the habit of being an Extra Mile person. Once you do this, you won’t have to tell your own Extra Mile story—people will begin to tell them about you.
The Extra Mile isn’t just an action or a story, it’s a reputation. And the best part is you create it. You make it happen.
All things are possible in your life and in your career if you will only dedicate yourself to the continuing process of being your best and going the Extra Mile.