By Steve Strandberg, Business Development Manager at DCI Engineering

I think back to being fresh out of engineering school and getting ready to start my first job out in the real world. I received a letter in the mail from my uncle, who had been a strong influence in my choosing the engineering field. Inside was a hand written note saying something to the effect that now that I was starting my career, he thought that the enclosed article might prove helpful as I moved ahead. It was called “Going the Extra Mile.” I don’t recall exactly what was in the article, or where it ended up, but the principle still resonates strongly and should resonate strongly with all of us in our professional lives.

The success of any business is highly dependent on customers. All of us working within an organization have both internal and external customers.

Here at the Coghlin Companies our daily interactions with internal customers set the stage for the outcome of projects, meetings, procedures, plans, etc. When we engage with our colleagues, it’s possible to do what it takes to get by and be “just good enough,” or it’s possible to “go the extra mile.” Going the extra mile does not necessarily take a herculean effort comparable to a marathoner digging deep to get to the finish line. It could be as simple as providing a co-worker with additional information such that he/she does not have to go off and locate it themselves, or taking the initiative to arrive at a meeting prepared with potential solutions to a problem, or making a colleague aware of an impending crisis that may be looming that they may not yet be aware of.

Equally, if not more important, are our interactions with external customers. These interchanges can make or break a sale, or even a relationship. Going the extra mile with external customers can similarly be a simple effort that goes a long way. A follow up phone call to confirm they received a piece of written communication; offering a potential solution to a customer’s challenge even where it’s completely outside the scope of responsibility; taking the time to put yourself in their shoes and consider what actions would lead to an outcome that would delight them.

It’s all about stepping out of our own individual spheres and being aware of what’s going on around us. Whether at DCI Engineering, Columbia Tech, or Cogmedix, going the extra mile can become a mindset and is about taking the initiative to do that little bit extra to make the next person’s efforts easier. If it becomes contagious, following this principle will surely increase the likelihood of success across the entire organization.