Often we don't realize that our words and actions have a powerful impact on others. A simple “thank you” or gesture of kindness goes a long way toward forging and reinforcing strong relationships.
James L. (Jim) Lundy, Ph.D., my personal friend, coach and mentor for 24 years, died and went to be with the Lord January 29, 2014. He was 83.
A Great Man
Since my father died when I was 20 years old, Jim was like a father to me. He would drop about anything to help me become a better leader and also a better person. I think I tried to implement just about everything he ever suggested, and his recommendations never failed me.
Jim helped me really understand the value of focusing on relationships, so it was my pleasure to invite him to lunch every month or two over the last several years. One of the neatest things I had a chance to do happened only a couple weeks before Jim died.
A Special Gift
As I was taking him to lunch, I gave him the book, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” by best-selling author John C. Maxwell. I knew that this book would be a special to Jim.
For the past year, John Maxwell has mentored me along with 15 others through “The Table” group. This allowed me to arrange for John to autograph on the page where he had quoted Jim Lundy from Jim’s best-selling book “Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way”. The quote was “We the uniformed, working for the inaccessible, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful!”
When I gave Jim the book and opened it to the autographed page, he lit up like a Christmas tree with a big smile. His daughters told me at his funeral that it was the most exciting thing that happened to him over the last few months of his life. In fact, they told me that the book was still open to that page in his assisted living apartment when he died.
An Excellent Mentor
Jim and I first met in the summer of 1989 when he persistently kept after me to attend one of his long-running La Jolla, CA. three-day TRAC 5000 workshops. I attended his first one in Wichita Falls, TX (where Jim made his hometown) in October 1989. Perhaps the most revealing part of the workshop was the results from my 3600 evaluation, where family, friends, and co-workers anonymously share their thoughts about my leadership.
Jim taught me so much. He demonstrated what a man of integrity looked like. He was passionate, and I mean passionate, about good customer service. Also, he taught me how to lead people, and how to manage the business in a principled way for better results.
His client list was impressive and included such giants as IBM, 3M, General Mills, TRW, Hewlett-Packard, General Dynamics, and American Express. But I’ll remember Jim for his friendship, advice and example of how to lead and live.
An Opportunity Seized
Sometimes, we let the busyness of life distract us from the more important things like our relationships with others. I am so glad that I took the time to give Jim that specially autographed book by John Maxwell – it was a small gesture that had a big impact!
Don’t miss the opportunity to lift up others, especially the most important people in your life! Who could you intentionally affirm and encourage today?