Go the Extra Mile

I subscribe to several life and career success blogs.  The other day, one of them sent me a nice little graphic with a quote…

The same afternoon, I was meeting with Olivia, a student who is doing an independent study with me based on her internship with the Denver Broncos.

Olivia’s internship (along with 15 other Denver area college students) involves event management for the Broncos. While the internship is a great learning experience, it involves a lot of grunt work like setting up and tearing down displays.

The Broncos publish a list of events every week.  Interns can sign up for as many, or as few as they want.  Olivia, being the high achiever she is, signs up for all of them.  It’s paid off for her.

If you’re an American Football fan, you know that team preseason training camps begin soon.  The Broncos, like every other team, have open training camp sessions where fans can get an up close and personal look at their favorite players as they go through their workouts and practices.  The Broncos, like every other team, also have corporate sponsors.  Executives and employees of these companies get invited to a observe training camp in a corporate sponsor VIP room that is air conditioned and has a balcony overlooking the practice field.  There are 22 of these event — one for every day of training camp, and one for each sponsor.  One intern is selected to host and manage those events.  It’s a big deal to be selected to be the intern who hosts and manages these events.

The Broncos don’t tell interns that they are in a competition to determine who will host and manage the the corporate sponsor VIP room.  They simply observe the interns — how often they show up, how hard they work, how reliable they are, how well they get along with other interns and Broncos’ staff — and select the one who has gone the extra mile.

This year, Olivia is that person.  Pretty cool for her, huh?  I’m proud of her.  She’s living proof that working hard pays off.

Interestingly, the same thing happened to my mother many years ago.  She was hired with about 12 other people to work in the office of a new K Mart store that was opening near my home town.  They began work a couple of months prior to the store’s opening, setting up all of the office systems.

The week before the store was to open, the Manager came to my mother and asked her if she would like to be the Office Manager.  He explained that when opening a new store, K Mart practice was to observe the people they hired for the office and choose one to be the Office Manager based on work ethic, willingness to learn and the ability to get along with others in the office.  Pretty much the way the Broncos do it when it comes to choosing the intern who will host and manage the corporate sponsor VIP room.

Both Olivia and my mother went the other mile in doing their work — and the quote in the graphic above suggests, it’s not very crowded out there.

There is a common sense point to all of this.  If you think that no one is looking, you’re wrong.  Managers and executives are always watching for the next up and comer in their organization.  You can become that person by going the extra mile, putting in the extra effort that sets you apart from your colleagues.

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