going the extra mile

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Have you ever run into a “it’s not my job” mentality person? Or maybe that describes yourself. I’ve found that when it comes to achieving success, that is the kiss of death.

Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Newton was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, inventor and natural philosopher. Regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history, he knew a thing or two. To me, his “standing upon the shoulders of giants” meant he was working in the light of discoveries made by fellow scientists, either in his own time or earlier.

Most people who are proud of their contribution to an idea are nonetheless aware they would have been unable to make that contribution if it were not for those people who preceded them. Those people who went the extra mile to pave the way for those who followed.

Going the extra mile is defined as doing more without being asked. It is one of the key behaviors demonstrated by engaged employees. It is being assiduous in your attempt to achieve something. Sounds easy enough right? Then why do so many of us struggle to do more than is asked of us. I have a few ideas to help you take that extra step:

  1. WIIFM?
    What’s today’s most popular radio station? WII-FM: What’s in it for me? I often find employees asking this question, whether it is out loud or asked through their actions. When we become so focused on WIIFM, everything will suddenly seem unfair. When thinking like this, you will become so worried about whether it’s fair to give more when you’re not being compensated or recognized for it. As an employer, I see the quality of looking beyond personal gain as something that sets people apart—in an enormous fashion. Those who work with me and excel are instantly willing to do more than asked…without being asked.
  2. “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace” – Doug Conant, CEO—Campbell’s Soup
    I find myself asking, “Are my employees giving 100%?” “Are my employees committed to their jobs?” These seem like obvious questions, but they come with very complex answers. We all know the co-worker or friend who won’t even fathom the idea of giving one more dime or second or inch than is absolutely necessary. However, when we become fully committed to our jobs, then doing more is all of a sudden not a burden anymore. It becomes easy to do more and eventually, it becomes a habit in the workplace.
  3. What do most people expect?
    This is an important question to ask when you are getting started with a project or really anything at work. In order to exceed expectations, you first have to know what someone expects. Once you have an answer to this question, going that extra mile is simple: take one more step and surpass the expectation that was set. This is a guaranteed way to impress those around you and set you apart.
  4. Set early deadlines.
    A simple trick: When you’re given a project, ask for a deadline. Then set an early deadline to beat that deadline. If you beat the deadline every time, you brand yourself as reliable, hard-working and dependable. If they don’t have a deadline, set one yourself.
  5. When a customer makes a request, set their priority as the highest on your list. Deliver and impress. In fact, become an expert at setting priorities, and feel comfortable re-ordering them throughout the day, as more demands and requests come your way.
  6. Out-of-Box Thinking
    Set aside 10 minutes a day to ask yourself what you improve for your customers. Then take note. Then set it in priority. Then act on it and watch how you amaze customers—and yourself. (Truly, this is one of the most rewarding items.)

Applying these points will remind you that too many of us fall into the rut of stopping short instead of venturing a little further for successful results. Without a doubt, it is that extra time, those extra minutes, those extra dollars that will make the difference between meeting our goals and giving up just shy of them. It is the difference between completing a project in normal fashion or completing a project that goes beyond what you thought your abilities were.

By tim brown
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