Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Exceeding the minimum

It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing just what’s required and no more. I mean, if they wanted more, they would have asked for it, right?


Perhaps stop thinking about it as having a job. You don’t have a job. Instead, you have responsibilities. And if you want to keep that job, you need to meet and exceed those responsibilities. That is the game.

But let me ask you this: Do you pay the minimum amount due on your credit cards each month? If you do, you might want to take a close look at your next statement. Give the minimum and it can take seven or ten or twelve years to pay off the balance.

But if you pay MORE than the minimum, you’ll polish it off in a fraction of that time—and pay a whole lot less.

Now apply the same logic to your job. If you’re just doing the minimum, you might be digging yourself a hole. If you think it’s okay to have your coat on at 4:59 every afternoon, for example, you might be the first one out the door in a way you DON’T want.

Instead, make a point of exceeding the requirements of your job. Blowing past expectations is the best way to make yourself irreplaceable.

Uncommon sense

I heard a story the other day about a guy who went into a bank all hunched over with a hat covering most of his face and asked for $7,000 out of a checking account. The teller gave him the $7,000, was very friendly, smiled…but she violated policy by not matching the person’s face to the ID. She probably didn’t want to seem rude by asking him to show his face.

A couple of days later he returned—same hunch, same hat over his face, and asked for a similar amount. Once again the teller complied, and once again she violated policy by not matching the face on the ID with the face of the person.

Two days later still, someone posing as his wife came in, also hunched over, cap over her face. This bank ended up losing a lot of money—and the reason is clear. Instead of putting together all of the unusual circumstances—the strange posture, the hat, the large amount of cash—each teller simply allowed a sensible policy to be violated.

Why? Because they allowed themselves to become complacent and ignored a rule because they stopped seeing the need.

It’s an easy thing to fall into. The pattern of customers in, customers out, can dull our alertness. It’s easy to stop noticing the details that matter. That’s WHY sensible policies are in place—to make sure the right thing happens, even when fatigue or boredom or the desire to be polite causes our judgment to lapse.

And a dose of common sense can’t hurt, either.

I remember my days growing up on the dairy farm and the common sense things the farmers would say. Here’s one…Before you tear down a fence, it’s a really good idea to ask why the fence was built in the first place.

Effective meetings

Have you ever had a meeting that went on twice as long as you wanted and STILL left you feeling more confused about the project than you did coming in?

Time is money. If you want to know how MUCH money, add up the hourly salaries of everyone in the room, plus, the real cost is the value of the work they’re not doing during that time which should exceed the cost of the salaries by five to ten times assuming someone is relatively productive—which they should be.

In short, it’s crazy expensive to have a meeting.

To make sure your meetings accomplishes its goal, ask your team leader to follow these three steps:

• ONE: Start on time no matter what. If someone is late, call them on it, every time, on the spot.
• TWO: Have an actionable agenda that clearly defines decisions to be made—the notes on that agenda will show the decision, who’s responsible, and deadlines.
• THREE: Assign a leader to keep the meeting moving, a strict timekeeper, and a note taker who records all decisions and assignments. Having a “chart person” who stands up to record every decision has an amazing impact on moving the meeting along.

It’s really just that easy. Follow this simple formula and transform your meetings.

Do the right thing

You’ve made some good decisions, and you’ve made a few lousy ones. Welcome to the human race. But what can you learn from your personal history to improve the ratio of good to lousy?

You know the decisions I’m talking about. You needed to meet a goal or quota, so you did the wrong thing by the client. You thought the client and your boss wouldn’t notice. That didn’t work. You violated your value of always doing the right thing by the customer, and a bad result was your reward.

You had to get home early to meet with friends, so you didn’t double-check that project before sending it out to the client. You lost the deal because you didn’t uphold your value of quality work. Again, bad result.

You were in a pinch to fill a position, so you hired someone you knew just didn’t share your values. Twenty-four hours after the start time, you knew you had a problem.

In each of these cases, you made a decision that deep in your gut felt wrong before you even made it. That sick feeling was all you needed to know for certain that you blew it. And in the long run, you know it will catch up with you. And it’s not going to be pretty when it does.

Pay attention to that feeling, and do the right thing.

Deciding to like it

A lot of people have decided not to like their jobs. They wouldn’t put it that way, of course. They think of their job like the weather. It’s something that happens to them, and all they can do is complain.

It’s actually more like a thermostat. How silly would it be to sit in your living room day after day complaining about how darn hot it is in here when there’s a little box on the wall that can fix the problem!

Job satisfaction is like that thermostat. Make the decision to turn up your job satisfaction, and guess what? Your job satisfaction goes up.

That doesn’t mean the things that annoyed you simply went away. It’s like marriage. The flaws will always be there, but you make a choice whether to focus on those flaws or to focus on the good things.

The same thing happens at work: There is no perfect job, no perfect boss, no perfect coworkers or products or systems. But there is one perfect thing: If you decide to like something, your day will go along much better and brighter.

Don’t try to turn it around on a dime. Take it one day at a time. Every morning, ask yourself…and demand an answer, “What three things about work am I grateful for today?”
And for goodness sakes, stop complaining to others about your job—that’s part of the pattern whereby you’re simply displaying your inability to turn your job into one that you love. Turn your job into one you love!