The Golden Step: taking time to do a little more

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. William K. Harner Jr.
  • 366th Operations Group superintendent
How does a backyard business grow into a multi-billion dollar international industry? How does an individual born in poverty, with limited means and options, end up being elected to the most powerful and influential office in the entire world? How does a sports team climb up from a historically losing record into a world-class program? The answer to all these questions is the same through the use of what I have come to call "The Golden Step."

The Golden Step can be applied to anything you do on a personal, professional, spiritual or physical level and will consistently yield a positive outcome in all you touch and do.

Here's how it works, let's use your professional responsibilities as the first example with your boss asking you to straighten up your work area for an important visitor. Depending on your work environment and not being told every detail about the visit, how much effort would you put into this task? Most people would probably sweep, vacuum or mop the floors, put any unused items away, and empty the trash. Now apply the Golden Step to this task and maybe also clean the windows or apply furniture polish on desks and tables, dust, consider a little paint touch-up if needed or straighten any hanging pictures, etc. The idea is to simply go above and beyond with a little extra effort to ensure the absolute best outcome and not just the "status quo."

Another example of the Golden Step could be applied to your preparation for an annual fitness test. Currently all of us are required to score 75 or higher to receive a passing grade. So as you gear up to take your test, what is your personal goal? Some people may say, 'I'm just trying to pass" ... get the 75 and move on until next year. But what if you apply the Golden Step and push yourself a little more than most to lose that extra weight and keep it off, knockout a few extra pushups or even run a little faster, further and more often in one week with a goal of eventually achieving the best score, a 100 ... why not?

How about higher education or study habits for promotion - can the Golden Step apply? Yes! Many people desire a higher level of education or to be promoted to the next level, but are they taking the extra steps to make it happen? Are they taking the time to learn better study habits? Are they devoting extra time to studying by giving up a little television or Internet surfing time? Most people know what to do to apply the Golden Step and achieve these goals, but are they really willing to put forth the effort to make these goals a reality?

Don't be mistaken or tricked by the Golden Step; it does not come without cost or sacrifice. If you're traveling around your base or community and see trash along the street or sidewalk, apply the Golden Step and pick it up. If you're writing a report or reviewing a product, take a few extra minutes towards giving it a true quality review rather than a quick glimpse just to move it forward. Your extra effort will pay off time and time again. Don't just do it for personal gain or recognition though, apply it even when it's just the right thing to do. Listen to your inner voice on this issue; it's your best guide.

Do you think Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, would have developed the customer-friendly business he did if he didn't apply the Golden Step by doing a little more than his competitors and doing it a little better? How about Henry Ford, he applied the Golden Step in revolutionizing the assembly line when making automobiles. This Golden Step effort resulted in lower production costs and faster built products. Most likely we wouldn't even remember his name today or have benefited from his ideas if he didn't put that extra effort into his business - doing more than most and doing it better. I wonder what would have happened to our nation if Abraham Lincoln didn't take the Golden Steps to be self-educated in law - relentlessly running for office until being elected president. Do you believe successful and accomplished people only do the minimum? Of course not, they have gone the extra distance with many things in their lives leading up to their current success and that is why their products or work results stand out above their peers and competitors.

We have all encountered one of those moments in our lives when we were asking for a service, product or favor and the person delivering it surprises us by giving a little more, providing it faster than you expected or simply going out of their way to make something happen. This type of action or behavior is nothing more than the Golden Step in action.

If you want to be at the top of what you do or provide the best service or product, I challenge you to apply the Golden Step. Although it requires a little more effort than most are willing to give, you'll most certainly be on your way to personal and professional success when this Golden Step is applied!