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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 People Feel Special

Do you make people feel special? Your employees? Your family? Your friends? Leaders do!

Last week my daughter’s boyfriend surprised her. They live in the Tampa area, but he scheduled a trip to Dallas months ago to see one of her favorite bands Saturday night. Jae and Jeff are both in their 40s, but Jeff knows Jae lives life to the fullest. She has her own company in the medical field and he told her to not be on call this weekend. Part of Jeff’s surprise was having them drive to our house on Thursday night when they got in and spend the weekend with us, as well as going to the concert.

It was an amazing weekend. For those of you who have adult children you know what I mean. It is always great to spend time with them. Jae knows many of our friends and has done a mission trip with, and even vacationed with many of the people she saw over the weekend.

Sunday morning my vice president and I took an early morning flight to attend one of Glass Doctor employee’s mom’s funerals. When we arrived at the visitation on Sunday afternoon our employee was so surprised.  As we met the members of his family, as well as his father, they understood how much we value and appreciate this employee. His mom died unexpectantly, and his parents were married 59 years and he told us about the magic of their marriage–a marriage we all want.

One of the most touching stories I learned was about the lady who passed away. Although her death was sudden and unexpected, over the years she had written a letter to all of her children expressing her thoughts and love for them. Wow. There is a lesson we all need to do today!  She wrote one of those letters 13 years ago. Let’s not wait until we are on death’s door to express our love for our families.

Sunday night we drove to Cleveland for dinner with our Cleveland franchisee. Our franchisee hired his daughter seven years ago and she also joined us for dinner, and she has taken that franchise to new levels.  As leaders we need to understand the brilliance our kids have. In most cases they have watched, and now appreciate, the work ethic we exhibited. When they join us in our businesses they finally understand “why” we have done what we do, and they quickly learn when they, too, are part of our business.

Last year our franchisee nominated his technician for Glass Doctor’s Technician of the Year.  What he wrote about this person was heartwarming.  When I presented that award, I could see the appreciation that employee had for his employer.

Another lesson for leaders. Do our employees know how much we appreciate them?

A surprise for a loved one . . . letters from a mom to her children . . . a national award nomination.  Every week we see examples for us as leaders. We simply need to make sure we recognize the leadership lessons are there every day of our lives.