Above and Beyond
I may have mentioned that I’m addicted to books on management and executive performance — love me some Peter Drucker — and I think a lot about how to motivate teams and get great work out of people and all that good stuff. I’m lucky enough to work with a bunch of smart, dedicated people and if I’m being honest, I’ve come to take excellent job performance a little bit for granted because of the caliber of so many of my co-workers. But once in a while something happens that stops me in my tracks, instances of employees going so far above and beyond that it’s remarkable.
Case in point, two mid-level account staffers gave up their Friday recently to work literally through the night to fix a client presentation that was not their responsibility to create in the first place, so it would be ready for a Saturday morning meeting in front of a VIP audience. Bearing in mind that this presentation was outside the project’s budgeted scope of work, these young women nevertheless worked till the sun came up to ensure their clients were presented in the best possible light later that day. This from an account executive and account supervisor.
I heard about it and wondered, what is it that drives some people to deliver client service or results that redefine excellence — passion for the work? Genuine love (or fear) of the client? Worry that somehow the bad presentation would reflect poorly on them? Or just an innate sense of responsibility and obligation to get the job done right, no matter what?
The longer I’m around (wheezing sigh), the more I realize some things just can’t be taught. This account executive and her supervisor have what can’t be taught, and if I may use two old-fashioned words and put myself at risk of sounding like my Grandpa Jerry (veteran of Dubya Dubya Two…you know, the Big One) — it’s a sense of duty and honor. A sense of duty to the client and the agency, in this case, and a sense of honor in a job well done. Really well done.
And all the Peter Drucker books in the world can’t teach that.