A new year is on the horizon. It stretches out before us like an endless highway, beckoning us on an exciting journey. It is a new beginning – a time for reflection. I’ve never been a big believer in New Year’s resolutions as such. Sometimes they’re quickly made and just as quickly broken. But, I am a big believer in philosophies and concepts that guide our lives, and here’s one I think is important. I’ve found that if the great people who work with me every day buy into just this one concept, we don’t just meet goals, we exceed them. And, we have happy customers.
I call it the “do more than you get paid for” philosophy. Most people do less than they get paid for and think they’ve done a good job. Some people do exactly what they get paid for and think that makes them special; but, really, that just makes you even because you’re doing the job you’re expected to do. Then, there are those few people who always do more than is required. They are the people who stick with it until the job is done, who volunteer for a task, who see new and better ways of doing things, who have initiative and a sense of loyalty. Rightly so, they are the people who get promotions. And, if the economy goes downhill and people have to be laid off, they are the last people standing because they have earned that right.
The world abounds with people who do just enough to get by. You see them everywhere you go – waiters in restaurants, sales associates in retail stores, customer “service” people, public “service” employees. You know the type. They never make eye contact, because they are so afraid you’re going to ask them a question or to do something. They are the clock watchers who sit with purse or bag in hand ticking off the minutes until they can charge out the door.
On a broader scale, so many companies and businesses do less than they get paid for. A few do the bare minimum – so many that if you do more than is expected you’re really going to stand out in the crowd. It’s not always the big things you do, it’s also about the small things that show you care and appreciate the trust someone has placed in you.
There was a lady who knew nothing about automobiles except that her brakes were bad. Since no one in her office could suggest a reputable garage, she took a chance on one listed in the Yellow Pages. The owner was very helpful and explained what she needed and about what it would cost. When she went to pick up her car he went over the steps they had taken and explained the charges to her. In about three days she received a phone call from the garage owner asking if her brakes were okay. That call took about three minutes of his time. He followed up in about three weeks with a postcard thanking her for her business and making sure all was well. He urged her to call if she had a problem and they would pick up the car and take care of it. That took about three more minutes of his time. So now, where do you think she is going to take her car the next time she needs repair work done? Who do you think she will recommend to others? All because of a phone call and a postcard that took about six minutes of time.
The “do more than you get paid for” attitude is a code we live by here at Col. Littleton. We “Strive to be Stellar.” I’m fortunate to have so many people who work with me who believe going the extra mile is important. If you hold yourself to a high standard in all parts of life, it stands to reason your business will thrive, too. I hope you, our customers, feel that philosophy at work when you deal with our company.
In the New Year why not think about adopting the “do more than is expected” philosophy if you haven’t already. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And, if you have children one of the greatest gifts you can give them is teaching them in everything they do to give their best effort and do more than is required. This principle becomes a way of life for them and could very well make the difference in great success and mediocrity.
I would love to hear from you with stories about doing more than you got paid for and the kind of response you received or stories about someone you admire for going above and beyond what is expected.