This can happen anywhere at work or outside of your work. Let me take a simple example of what might happen at work. You are working on a very interesting project. When you complete it, you decide to create a powerpoint presentation (although that was not part of your job) and present it to your manager. You download some templates and put together some slides. You complete about fifteen slides and have ideas for the other five and before you finish them you get sucked into another project and get very busy. After sometime you forget about the presentation.
A few days later when you are having a casual conversation with your manager, the earlier project comes up and you mention to him about a presentation that you were preparing. Your manager wants to see it. After the meeting you go back to your desk and send the incomplete powerpoint presentation.
This is a simple example of “0.9 Extra Mile Syndrome” in action. When your manager looks at the presentation which is incomplete, his first reaction will be that you have not done a thorough job on the presentation. The fact that this was in addition to your job is not always on his mind. What comes up glaringly is the last few slides with only titles. Here is an analogy: Take a white sheet of paper and put a black spot on it somewhere on the paper. What people see is not the white sheet but the black spot. That’s the way life is. You can complain about it and question the logic. It is not worth an argument. It is YOU who has to change and learn to work with it. When your boss looks at your incomplete presentation, typically what he will remember is the fact that you sent an incomplete presentation.
What I mentioned was ONE simple example of this syndrome. Remember the times when you tried to walk the extra mile and you gave up in the middle. You wanted credit for the few steps you walked. The perception you left behind was completely different – that you leave things half done. You usually don’t get credit for partial “extra mile” journeys that you take.
Here is what you can do. Every time you want to walk an extra mile, consider the following:
* See if someone else is walking the extra mile. Help the other person in completing that journey.