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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!

Videos

Last week I wrote about ways to make people feel special; this week I want to take it to the next level.

When I was in eighth grade my father died from a heart attack four days before Christmas. He was 54 and I was 13. If I said it didn’t affect me the rest of my life I would be lying. Of course it did, both negatively and positively. At that point, I was “the man of the house.”

That summer my aunt and uncle took me on a trip to Williamsburg, Va., and eventually to the Outer Banks of N.C. The irony is that MK and I are taking all of our kids and grandkids on a similar trip this summer to the Outer Banks. Memories.

My uncle has since passed away, but my aunt is still living in the same house in Rockford, Ill.,as they did when I was growing up. She’s 82 now but I still think she’s 40. We were close when I was a kid and even closer today. It’s amazing how priorities change and relationships get better with age.

Not long ago she called and said my cousin had put some 8 mm videos on DVD and she was going to send a copy to me. Last Friday night I watched one. Videos of my parents, grandmother, and this fat kid, I explained to MK, was me when I was 14 years old were on it. I can’t begin to tell you what it meant to see my dad again. Fifty years later I got to see his face.

Little did any of us know, when we were being filmed by an 8 mm camera 50 years ago, someone would be viewing it one day. Then I thought about Facetime, with it I talk to my grandsons in Cleveland every week through its magic. They’re 5 and 6 now but they recognize and talk to us like they see us daily. Grandpa and Grammie are a part of their lives, even though we are more than one thousand miles away, it’s like we live in the same neighborhood.

I’m not sure who invented Facetime or Skype – but I’m sure they’ve brought families together more than anyone else.

Each week I do a “Two Minutes” video for my franchisees in North America where I share my thoughts for that week. Usually there’s nothing earth-shattering, just random thoughts I hope make my franchisees think about something different for the week. It might be about customer service or perhaps best practices in some areas. It doesn’t matter, it’s simply a way to connect.

Earlier today I went on Facebook and saw my daughter-in-law had a video of our 5 and 6 year- old grandson’s catch of fish for the day. It made me feel like I was there cheering them on.

What are you doing to create video memories? Are you just taping jobs your team did? What about what your family is doing? With today’s mobile phones you can create a lifetime of memories every day; it’s easy stuff that even I can do!

It comes down to finding a way to connect. Today, tomorrow or 50 years from now, who would’ve thought this could happen?