Welcome to TeamTRI’s 12 Days of Leadership! From now until Christmas we’ll be celebrating the holiday season by sharing 12 days of powerful leadership ideas, resources and content. We hope these articles get you in the holiday spirit and ready to go lead the world to greatness! Today’s article is by Curtis Haley (@TeamTRI_Curtis)
For our tenth day in our #12DaysOfLeadership, we’re excited to talk about the ten steps EXTRA STEP! leadership model which we practice and teach here at TeamTRI. No matter where you are on your personal leadership journey, the EXTRA STEP! process can help you better serve the people you represent by sharpening your resolve to meet their needs and provide an incredible experience for your customers, whoever they happen to be!
And like all great ideas in life, we made it even easier to understand the EXTRA STEP! by making it an acronym. Let’s break it down one letter at a time:
Extraordinary Customer Service: The idea behind the first element of the model is that the difference between ordinary service and extraordinary service is adding in that little “extra”. True leadership means not waiting for things to happen, but MAKING things happen. You can practice this in your own life by anticipating the needs of your customers before they arise, then working to solve those needs!
X-Factor: We all remember algebra class (no matter how hard we try to forget, in some cases). In algebra, you learn that “X” is the unknown quantity, and that stands true for the X-Factor element. Great leaders take initiative to find opportunities to serve, and go above and beyond to find solutions to challenges. This requires keen analytical skills to FIND the X-Factor, combined with well-honed creative thinking to find solutions that meet the needs of your audience.
Top of Mind Awareness: What’s on the top of your mind right now? Dinner? Work? That new Bruno Mars song you can’t get out of your head? As a leader, it’s up to you to ensure your organization and brand are constantly near the top of mind for your stakeholders. Think about the buzzword that you want associated most with your brand – your job is to build positive relationships to ensure that when people think of that buzzword, they think of YOU.
Results-Driven: Every action you take should have the end in mind. When you wake up and put on your professional attire, you don’t do so because it’s the most comfortable outfit you own, but because you want to put the best possible foot forward in order to achieve your desired results. Don’t settle for activity, but become obsessed with results – consider how your actions are moving the needle forward for your goals, and use that growth to gauge your own success.
Ambassadors of Leadership Excellence: What does it mean to be an ambassador? It means that you are the face of your organization, and that your actions speak not just for you but for everything you represent. Just like the United States wouldn’t want to send Miley Cyrus to the United Nations, so should you want to ensure that you are knowledgeable about your organization, welcoming to everyone you meet, and representative of your mission and goals to everyone you meet. Through charm, grace and sincerity, you can be the bridge between your organization and the outside world.
Speak to the Fans: “Wah wah wah wah wah” – if this is what people hear when you talk about your organization, you’ve already lost them. Representing your organization well requires effective communication, and effective communication requires powerful planning and dynamic delivery which is inspiring, educational, persuasive, influential and informational in all environments.
Timeliness: The “T” stands for…wait, haven’t we done this letter already? Totally. But the SECOND T stands for one of the most important elements of the model: Timeliness. In our world, we train people about the concept of “leader time” – harnessing good habits of efficiency, organization and wise preparation to complete projects and arrive at events ahead of the expected time. This means accurately anticipating how much time and which resources are required to complete a project in advance of the deadline, learning to say “NO” to opportunities which may overload your plate.
Evaluation: As the saying goes, “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. That’s why leaders understand the value of seeking feedback from customers and stakeholders in order to identify potential areas for growth and improvement on personal and organizational levels. Receiving feedback can be a touchy subject – nobody likes to feel incompetent – but remember that everyone makes mistakes, and the only way to learn from them is to acknowledge them.
Project Planning: While the most visible (and most exciting) part of being a leader may be the time when you’re on stage speaking to your audience, the truth is that leadership is 90% successful project completion and 10% face time in front of customers. Your wise planning and hard work when you AREN’T on stage guarantee a warm, enthusiastic reception when you ARE on stage.
!: We’re not sure how you pronounce this final element, but the intent is clear: Enthusiasm and excitement should be the foundation of everything you do. You have an incredible opportunity to serve others and to make their experience amazing, and your excitement only enhances that experience for everyone involved. We all love being around positive people, and that’s even more true when you’re in the trenches getting work done. A smile, a cheer, and a pat on the back for your teammates all go a long way toward helping people value the chance to make a difference in the lives of others.
There you have it, folks – the EXTRA STEP! model of leadership. The best part of this model is that it’s not a far-off goal that you have to achieve, but rather a commitment to your customers that you can adopt right now. Which of the EXTRA STEP! elements resonated the most with you? Let us know on Twitter @TeamTRI, and stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of the #12DaysOfLeadership!
Image Credit: jeremystatton.com