Tag archive for "extra mile"

by Bill, Character, Extra Milers, Give Back, Leadership, Think About It...

Going the Extra Mile for an Employee

No Comments 14 October 2008

Charley's Grilled SubsToday’s post is another in our ongoing effort to provide some good news and inspiration in an otherwise difficult period.

In her piece for the October 6 edition of Nation’s Restaurant News Dina Berta recounted an incredible story about Marcus Gilbert, the owner of a Charley’s Grilled Subs franchise in Orem, Utah helping out one of his employees who needed a kidney transplant. It seems that the employee, Juan Delgado is part time, and Gilbert is only able to provide health insurance for full timers, so he found another way to help, by, get this… donating one of his own kidneys.

Mr. Gilbert’s selfless act reminds us of an expression used by Chick-fil-A’s C.O.O., Dan Cathy in conducting training for managers at new store openings: “When a team member is enduring a personal hardship, we want you to go above and beyond for that person. When you do, you will have their full attention when you talk about going above and beyond for our customers.”

A thought leader in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

by Bill, Extra Milers, Give Back

Some Good News For a Change

No Comments 07 October 2008

92ns Street Y LogoOn a day when the Dow tanked another 508 points in a long string of losing days, some good news, any good news, even a little piece is most welcome. Such a nugget climbed into my in-basket this evening in the form of an email message from the 92nd Street Y in New York.

Business partner, Richard Hadden and I rendezvous there two or three times a year and catch a lecture by a business chieftan or other notable. Though it’s a long trip from our respective domiciles, we’ve never been disappointed in the experience. Anyhow, the text of the email follows, unedited. Consistent with our experiences with these folks, I thought it was a class act. Clearly, these folks are going the extra mile.

The 92nd Street Y is here for you.
Dear 92nd Street Y Friends and Family,
As we look to the renewal of another year, we are faced with a host of unprecedented challenges. We recognize that the upset in our financial markets has had, and will continue to have, an impact on the lives of all of us. We certainly understand the uncertainty and strain caused by these trying times. As an institution and as a community, we are committed to providing a network of support and leadership.

We firmly believe in enriching lives by providing access to a variety of intellectual, artistic and spiritual outlets, both in challenging and prosperous times. Please know that you can continue to rely on the 92nd Street Y in all the ways you have come to enjoy—as a center for guidance, learning and leadership and as a safe haven for children and adults alike. Should the burdens of these times jeopardize your involvement in any aspect of your 92nd Street Y experience, please speak with Beth Teitelman, 92nd Street Y Director of Scholarship Services at 212.415.5699 about how to continue your regular involvement in our community and programs. If you have concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Shana Tova,

Sol Adler Helaine Geismar Katz
Executive Director       Associate Executive Director

by Bill, Leadership, Motivation

Don't Let Your Work Become a Job

No Comments 08 May 2008

Comair jetLast week I had the pleasure of being on a Comair flight manned by a flight attendant by the name of Eric. It was immediately obvious upon boarding that this flight was going to be different, in a positive way. With a smile and a wisecrack about the plane’s designers, he reminded me upon boarding of the low door clearance so I wouldn’t bump my head. A few minutes later, with a half empty aircraft (a rare luxury on a regional jet), he invited passengers to spread out if they wished to do so. A couple of minutes before pushback he repeated the offer to spread out, adding jokingly that those who hadn’t heeded his previous offer would now have to pay a $25 fee for the right to do so.

It wasn’t so much that we had a frustrated comic for a flight attendant, but rather, a guy who seemed to be doing his best to brighten his day and the day of those around him. Somewhere between Cincinnati and Charleston, WV, I asked him about the shtick. “I want to become a pilot,” he said, adding that the Comair gig allows him to attend flight school, and get his foot in the door within the industry. Then, he added, “But for now, I try every day not to let my work become a job.” I – try – not – to – let – my – work – become – a – job… Let that sink in for a moment.

My guess is that Eric would agree with former U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” How many people do you know who go through life being prisoners of their own minds, preferring, unlike Eric, to see the dark side of just about everything? More importantly, how often do you and I fall into the same trap, allowing cynicism to overcome our good nature? Indeed, my granddaughter has been asked to call me “Grumpy” as something of a reminder of what I don’t want to become. I have also asked a few people close to me to gently (or not so) remind me whenever they notice that my smiles/frowns ratio seems to be getting out of whack. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I need to do better.

Regardless of what techniques or reminders we employ, it is important, especially for those of us who have accepted the mantle of leadership to remember that, in our increasingly uptight world, people simply will not follow, let alone go the extra mile for someone who lacks a generous dose of optimism… someone who sees their work as nothing more than a job.

A thought leader in the areas of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette is a seminar leader, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He helps individuals and organizations improve business outcomes by having a focused, engaged, capably led workforce. For more information about Bill, his partner Richard, and their work, please visit their website at www.contentedcows.com

by Richard, Leadership, Motivation

Discretionary Effort – Unmerited Favor?

No Comments 19 April 2008

Delta Business EliteDelta Business EliteDelta Business EliteDelta Business EliteDelta Business EliteDelta Business EliteDelta Business Elite

In some faiths, the term “grace” is defined as “the unmerited favor of God”. In more earthly terms, grace is when we receive something we don’t deserve, and in fact, can’t possibly earn. When the police officer stops you for going 65 in a 45mph zone, and lets you off with a warning. That’s grace. When you pig out over the holidays, and gain only 2 pounds. That’s grace.

My family and I were recently the recipients of the “unmerited favor of Delta Air Lines”.  Or were we? Returning from a European vacation a few weeks ago, we were booked in 4 frequent flyer award seats, in coach, from Prague to Atlanta. Sometimes I have enough miles in my account to upgrade to Delta’s Business Elite (their version of International First Class), but not this trip. A ten-hour transatlantic flight in coach is no one’s idea of pleasant, but considering we paid nothing for these seats, I wasn’t complaining.

A long-haul flight is hard enough when you’re in the best of health, but my teenage son had picked up a nasty cold in Prague, and was feeling pretty lousy. None of us was looking forward to the journey.

When we checked in at Prague, we were told by the Delta ticket agent that, because coach was oversold, all 4 of us were being upgraded to Business Elite. Did we have any problem with that?

This is grace. And maybe a little like, in some ways, Discretionary Effort. I didn’t deserve the upgrades. I didn’t pay for them. I didn’t expect them, and therefore could not have complained had we not received this unmerited favor. And yet, it’ll be a long time before I regain rights to gripe about not scoring an upgrade on a domestic flight with Delta.

And yet, why did Delta pick us, rather than 4 other lucky winners, to fly back in comfort? Two reasons: 1. We checked in relatively early, and 2. I fly Delta a LOT, and was likely the only Platinum Medallion frequent flyer booked in coach for this flight. The airline had to upgrade 4 people. Why not do it for their most loyal customers?

In this way, the “favor” was not entirely unmerited. The same goes for Discretionary Effort. You, as a leader, can’t pay people to go the Extra Mile at work, to give you the Discretionary portion of their effort. You can’t exactly earn it. And because it’s not required, you can’t exact sanctions on people who don’t give it.

However, when someone on your team volunteers to work that extra weekend; covers for a sick colleague; does a 200% job, when 100% would have worked; bends over backward for a customer; quietly does without so the numbers look good this quarter; rolls up their sleeves without regard to their job description; does something on their own initiative rather than being asked; gets to work before you do because they can’t wait to get started; or renders any other manifestation of Discretionary Effort, it may be because their leader cares about them as a person; tells them frequently how much they’re appreciated; looks for ways to help make their job easier; cuts them a little slack when they’re going through a rough patch, has earned their trust; has been a good listener; and in short, has gone the Extra Mile for them over the years.

Favor? Yes. Unmerited? Not entirely.


Considered thought leaders in the arena of leadership and employee engagement, Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden speak to, train, and coach managers on leadership practices for better business outcomes.

OUR PREMISE: Having a focused, engaged, and capably led workforce is one of the best things any organization can do for its bottom line.


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