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Going the Extra Mile

It started on an airplane two years ago. Mary Kay had just landed in Dallas and was anticipating a wait of several hours to catch the connection to Waco. The flight from Dallas to Waco is less than 20 minutes. Still, she was going to have to kill time at the Dallas airport for the next flight.

As she was talking to me from the airplane, she was interrupted by the gentlemen next to her, Stewart, who was driving back to Waco. Stewart offered to share the ride with MK. This meant she would arrive back in Waco hours before her flight was scheduled to leave Dallas. The gentlemen offering the ride was a successful real estate broker in Waco and was just coming home from the international Rotary convention. MK had been a Rotarian at several Rotary Clubs when she lived in California.

Two things happened because Stewart reached out. First, months later MK became a Rotarian in Stewart’s club. Recently, MK called Stewart for a recommendation for one of his best realtors.  As Trish did all the paperwork to list our house, we mentioned that we were headed to Ann Arbor the following weekend to look for a house. Trish went the extra mile and offered to do some research and find us a good Ann Arbor realtor.

Within two hours we received a call from Nancy in Ann Arbor. Just days later Nancy had several houses for us to view, all within minutes from MK’s new office. A week ago, we purchased one of those houses. The day after we signed the agreement Nancy arranged for me to meet the home inspector at the new place. As I talked to the inspector, he mentioned how much he loved working with Nancy. A few minutes later she arrived at the house.

There were only a couple issues that needed tending and Nancy handled that for us again.  Another time she went the extra mile. As I look back on this experience it all started because one person who went the extra mile to make a trip more convenient for MK – Stewart, more than two years previously.

Let’s look at our own lives as leaders. Who have we gone the extra mile for lately? Employee? Customer? Vendor? Friend? Family?

Is anyone able to relate a story about you like the one I just shared about Stewart, Trish and Nancy?

Leadership is about so many things. Hopefully over the past several years you’ve seen, in these postings, that leadership is about so much more than why people typically think leadership is.  As I focus on leadership situations each week, I am astounded at what I learn from others.  Leadership is all around us. Hopefully, your acquaintances think leadership is all about you!

Making Connections

This week MK was named the President of Molly Maid – one of our Neighborly (formerly Dwyer Group) brands. It’s one of our largest brands. This is a huge opportunity and great promotion for MK.

It also means I’ll be leaving the glass industry at the end of this year, it’s bittersweet. I’ve never enjoyed an industry more, have never made more friends, or had people who helped me more. Most of all I’ve never made better connections in life.

After almost nine years, I’ll take on another exciting role in our company. This time from Ann Arbor – not Waco. Molly Maid’s corporate office is in Ann Arbor, Mich., and I’ll be filling in working with our chief executive officer. This isn’t much of a geographical change for me, as I grew up in Northern Illinois, have lived in Indiana, and Wisconsin. It’ll be different for MK, a southern California woman who has never driven in snow!

I reached out to all of my personal contacts and Facebook friends. I was shocked at the people I heard from. Many from high school – that’s only been 46 years. Many of you reached out – thank you.

One person who reached out to me on Facebook messenger really got my attention, his name is Adam. He’s a very successful Molly Maid franchisee. Now let me take you back 15 years. When MK and I both worked at Valpak there was a young financial guy, Adam, who stood out.

We went to his wedding in 2006 on Clearwater Beach, Fla., and copied his sand ceremony at our wedding in 2007. We even stole one of his ideas about a chair wrap from the reception.

Adam was aggressive and wanted to become a Valpak franchisee. He became one by moving to North Carolina and partnering with one of our successful Valpak franchisees. As life went on, he went back home to Michigan.

He became a business support person for Molly Maid franchisees. Then he left corporate and was awarded a Molly Maid franchise in South Carolina.

And there he was last Friday, reaching out to me when he saw we’re moving to Michigan and Mary Kay was about to become the president of the brand. He offered his support and welcomed MK to the brand.

I look back on this and am fascinated. Adam was a young and aggressive person who wanted to take his skills to the next level. When our corporate office purchased Molly Maid several years ago, it was so exciting to see him again, but this time in a different role. He still seemed like a young kid . . . probably because we looked like the old guys we were when he met us.

This all comes back to who we are and who we impact – most times we have no idea not only who, but how we are impacting them.

As leaders we need to be aware of this. What is it called … six degrees of separation?

The Bible says it best in Job, 2nd Corinthians and Galatians – “What you sow you reap.” Leaders understand this and do it without thinking. We liked Adam for who he was and how he worked. Who would have thought?