Going The Extra (Work) Mile


I am not suggesting that people need to travel further for work.  Rather, going the extra mile means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude.  In fact, those who are willing to go the extra mile are generally noticed more by upper management (and their peers).  Thus, it does not matter if an individual works in Customer Service or Finance, going the extra mile will positively show his or her level of professionalism. 

Even those in respected positions–police officers, teachers, pastors, athletes, politicians, executives–act unprofessional.  Why is this?  Rather than take pride in one’s position, people have different agendas (i.e. money, power), which needless to say, is a compromise.  High-profile position or not, professionalism is a critical skill necessary for career advancement.    Unfortunately, across industry lines a decline in professionalism has negatively affected several factors related to organizational efficiency such as productivity, company culture, and customer satisfaction.  Simply put:

Everyone.  Is.  Affected.

Some factors that affect an individual’s professional image include dress code, conduct, and accountability.  The way a person dresses may cause him or her to seem more (or less) serious (i.e. authoritative, intelligent).  The way we interact with others–customers, co-workers, and superiors, also affect how others view us.  Does our interaction make us seem cocky, rude, or empathetic?  Finally, having accountability towards one’s job responsibilities are important towards his or her professional image.  Have you or someone you know miss deadlines for projects or are constantly late for work? 

Another factor that can influence a person’s professional image is going the extra mile.  This may involve helping a co-worker on a project or volunteering your own time at work.  At my company, we have people who volunteer at our employee store.  When employees are willing to help others, they may be seen as committed to the well-being of the department and/or company.  Also, the opportunity to work with people in other departments can foster inter-department cohesion.  Each year, employees at our company volunteer for Earth Day.  Since volunteers come from different departments, it creates opportunities to meet and get to know those we do not normally interact with on a day-to-day basis.      

What would motivate you to go the extra mile for your organization?

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