Being a positive influence and having a positive impact is something one of our former Lenbrook board members, Glen Jackson of Jackson & Spalding, would frequently talk with us about. I remember a time we were walking through his Midtown offices and I noticed that when we came across his team members he would always acknowledge them in some way, often with a meaningful statement.
As we reached the lobby, I made the comment that I was impressed that he seemed very deliberate in his interactions with his team and I wondered if that was the key to the firm’s engaged culture. He commented, “When building a culture every interaction is either a momentum maker or a momentum breaker.” This exchange stuck with me as it seems leaders inspire others by creating deliberate impact.
A Positive Set of Heels
As a long distance cyclist and runner, I know the positive impact just one person can have during a long race. In my 2015 Ironman race, I trained my eyes on a set of heels heading into the last six miles of the race. This was after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 20 miles into the 26.2-mile finish line. I held on to the sight of those heels for about 2 miles, just to keep me going. Finally, we both stopped to walk through an aide station and I introduced myself. We chatted a bit and he took off, saying he'd see me at the finish.
I started back up and kept going and after catching him we ran together for the final four miles. As we rounded the bend and headed into the crowd-filled final stretch, he grabbed my hand and said, "We finish together mate!" (He was British.) We crossed the line together as they announced, "Chris and Carl you are now Ironmen!" Whew, what a feeling! Little did he know that his heels were what kept me going.
Positive Impact Makers
It’s like that here at Lenbrook. Whether it's one of our associates giving a fussy grandchild a fruit snack in the lobby or one resident checking in on another who's not feeling well, we are here for each other.
Our associates are guided by Lenbrook's mission: to enable our residents to enjoy the gifts of independence, good health and personal fulfillment to the fullest extent possible, through our many programs and services. In many ways, our work is a "calling."
Our residents largely choose Lenbrook because they want to live vital and engaged lives today and every day. Certainly the impact they are making changes away from their careers and focuses on their impact through philanthropy, mentoring and volunteering both within Lenbrook and outside in the broader community. Raising children is replaced by being grandparents (this father of two suggests that is a good trade). The focus might change but the impact they make doesn’t.
In summary, I would like to remind you of the story I told last year about two of our residents Dr. and Mrs. Schwarzchild. They remembered 100 of our front-line associates in their estate by giving each of the associates a substantial check and a copy of Aesop’s Fables.
The copy of Aesop’s fables had a line highlighted in "The Lion and the Mouse" talking about how we never know how our actions will create an impact on someone else. The associates might have brightened the Schwarzchild’s day by simply saying hello, calling them by their names or taking a few extra steps down the hall with them. But whatever it was the associates did, the Schwarzchild’s were impacted and they in turn impacted the associates.
What Kind of Impact Maker Are You?
Offering a helpful hand, lending a caring ear, sharing a smile. No matter how big or small, our actions and attitudes have an impact on each other. National movements have been launched on this very premise. Just think of "random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward.
I invite you to turn your attention to these opportunities -- big and small. You may be surprised at how many ways you too can make an impact. Join us as we strive to be positive impact makers in 2017, one day and one person at a time.
Chris Keysor is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lenbrook. His passion for the senior living industry began early in his career as a CPA with KPMG Peat Marwick. Chris progressed in executive responsibilities over the years, working for a senior healthcare provider, healthcare financing organizations and senior living consulting groups. Chris is also a nationally ranked Ironman triathlete, which he says comes in handy raising his two young children with his wife here in Atlanta.