Go The Extra Mile For Your Team
I was in a shop the other day watching the manager give heat to one of his employees. As soon as the manager walked away, the employee started complaining to his colleague. As I watched the employees robotically do their work, it was clear they were unhappy. I started thinking about how important it is for managers to treat their teams well.
Many companies preach about how important their employees are. Some deliver on that, but very few go the extra mile for their employees and do something extra ordinary. Some companies like Zappos built a culture that helped them become a billion dollar company.
For me, treating my team well was a priority. I always told my team that I would bend over backwards for them as long as they meet me half way and put an honest effort into their work. That was nice, and the team appreciated it as I delivered on that promise through actions.
But still… that wasn’t really extraordinary or unique.
One time though, I learned how great it is to go the extra mile. I did something for my team that creating a lifelong memory.
The year was 2008 and the month was April (insert suspense music in background). We embarked that year on an ambitious plan for the team. The plan would stretch the team with tight deadlines and a major promise that would help the company leap forward in delivering a great product to customers. We finished the first quarter on target. It was tough and everyone on the team worked hard to reach that target. I decided that I wanted to show the team my appreciation for their hard work.
Since I couldn’t get a budget approved to pay for this, I decided to pay for it myself.
We had a great office manager, Darine, who had a lot of experience and connections in the hotel industry. When I asked her to recommend restaurants to take the team out to, she gave me a few options then she said “why don’t you do something a little more special and make it really memorable?!“.
She suggested I take the team on a road trip to somewhere special for the day. I loved the idea.
Darine graciously arranged booking a great restaurant at with a sea view in a beautiful picturesque town (Byblos). She negotiated a price way better than I would have ever got. She also set up a bus to take us around for the day (there was 20 people on the team at the time).
I kept it as a surprise from the team. I just told them to make sure there are there for that Friday to celebrate as a team. They were all expecting a team lunch at a nearby restaurant. But on Friday morning at 9:30, I stood up and announced to everyone that a bus was waiting for us outside and that we will be taking the whole day off. I gave them 20 minutes to get ready, wrap things up, and call any family to inform them we are going on a road trip.
That day was one of the most memorable and fun days I had. We sang and danced on the bus… like teenage kids going on a school trip. We enjoyed a great meal together with a beautiful view of the sun bouncing off the Mediterranean Sea. We spent some time on the beach relaxing, then walked around in the old town.
Of course no road trip is complete without stopping for ice cream on the way back. The team intercepted me while walking into the ice cream shop and said “Noor, you did more than enough for us… the ice cream is our treat“.
It was a great experience for everyone. By the end of the day, all the stressed out faces were replaced with the huge smile and giggles that many forgot since high school. All the little tensions between people were forgotten and everyone enjoyed each others company. Most importantly, everyone felt they belonged to something special (including me).
The next week, people came in with smiles on their faces and were charged up and excited to push forward with the team’s goals.
I smile every time I remember that trip and remember how important it is to go the extra mile for my team.
What about you? do you have stories to share of someone going the extra mile for the team?