We all have our mentors—those who inspire us in business and, in some extraordinary cases, to simply be better people in and out of the board room. For me, even as a business professional pushing the mid-century mark, that inspiration most recently came in the form of a remarkable Harvard-educated business woman named Janey Lack.
Until 2011, alongside her equally well-mannered husband Melvin, Janey presided over the Texas-based retail chain, Lacks Home Furnishings. A recent retiree, Janey’s considerable business skills were developed during another time—dare I say, a simpler time.
A time when a handshake was the equivalent of a contract.
A time when someone’s “word” meant more than a contract.
A time when people talked to each other.
Janey did much more for me than send my company a check. I assure you Janey Lack never sent an email, participated in a conference call, took part in business negotiations, or attended a meeting without a keen understanding that those around her a) had the potential to help her build her business and b) represented current or prospective consumers of the Lack’s brand.
I even speculate that Janey never once visited the grocery store without a heightened awareness that her every word and deed was a possible reflection on her company’s reputation.
Though she has certainly earned her time off, what the business world now seriously lacks is Janey Lack…and others like her. I have often said, for all she has done for me, if Janey Lack needed a kidney, she could have one of mine. And I mean it.
The last I checked, both of Janey’s kidneys were in excellent working order so I appear to be in the clear for now.
Hopefully, each of you have been blessed with our own “Janie Lack” in your professional life.
If not, trust me, you’re missing out.
Marketing guru, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.