Sunday, October 16, 2011

Celebrating Celestine

My father in law died this past week. Cel Toenies lived a great life of 87 years and will be missed by many. Thinking of Cel brought up many memories of a man that lived life fully in service of others.
I am fortunate to travel all over the world delivering workshops on leadership. In one workshop we do an exercise called the A/B exercise. We have participants write down five names of people that are close in relationship to them at work. We then ask them to rate that person as an A or a B. The A signifies that this person is regarded highly and they are deemed to be people we trust and care about. The B’s are generally considered to be lower performers and not our “go to” people. We then work through the differences in the way we treat the rated A’s or B’s. Our final thought related to this phenomenon is that however you rate someone, either as an A or a B, they know.
Everyone in the world is on either someone’s A or B list. And you likely know when you are on someone’s B list. Think about how it feels when you know. Very different than when we know we are on an A list.
How do you rate the people that are in your life? I hope to travel this world holding all people as an A. I know that for me it is a constant work in progress. Whenever I do this exercise I always hold up one prime example of someone that regards everyone in the world as an A. That person has always been Cel Toenies. No one I have ever met exemplifies the characteristic of treating all people with dignity and respect as a natural way of being better than Cel. For Celestine Toenies it was just a given way to treat all people. How are you treating the people in your life? As an A or as a B? Remember that they know.
Cel leaves this world in a better place than it was when he entered it and I am honored and humbled to have lived in his presence.