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Those who go the extra mile (to deliver outstanding results) are probably doing so on their own dime.

This seems to be the unfortunate reality of work today. We have set up the organisations that run our government institutions, community causes, and private sector corporations to be increasingly reliant on the care-factor of individuals on the frontline or production floor to excel.

Organisations don’t/can’t care – they have a singular profit and/or political agenda. Organisations do not directly interact with customers. They can only do so via their people and processes.

Senior leaders don’t/can’t care – they work with high-level consolidated numbers and are often completely removed from day to day operations. They have no real idea of what goes on at the customer experience level.

Middle manager don’t/can’t care – they have budgetary pressures from above, and often people/process problems from below. Their jobs are also often seen as disposable because they do not overtly produce anything tangible.

So when excellence occurs, it is increasingly due to individuals giving a damn. Over and beyond the mandate of their roles. Perhaps with minimal support (ie unpaid overtime.) And sometimes even in spite of counter-excellence directives.

Individuals at the value creation or customer experience are increasingly left to shoulder the fallout of poor or ill-informed decisions from higher ups. They are told to do more with less, even as marketing is promising the world to customers.

These are the people who go the extra mile, who apologise and make up for broken/stupid processes, who care beyond their pay grade. They stay back late without extra pay. They check emails on weekends. They give up their holidays. Not because they are workaholics and have no lives. Because they understand that sometimes the extra mile is needed to get things over the line, to help out a customer in a difficult bind. Issues that have never been costed or planned for. At their own expense. And probably never suitably recognised. These are the people who organisations from self-immolation.

How many times have you continued to give your custom to an organisation because the frontline people were good? Because you engaged with someone who gave a damn, when the organisation as a whole remained aloof and silent.

Remember to thank those who go the extra mile, because it probably costs them!

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