“Dad, let me tell you something. If Linda were to ever leave, you might as well shut the doors at JP Horizons.” If that were just a passing conversation, the comment might have brought on a little chuckle thinking it was one of my sons talking trash. The thing is, I would not be able to venture a guess how many times that comment was made by both of my children and my wife over the past twenty plus years, and it was never in jest. Every time one of them said it, I knew they were right. You see, I have had the privilege of being assisted, all these years, by a lady who made herself indispensable to our business.
So, what does it mean to be indispensable in your role? Let me tell you about Linda Coors. First of all, Linda is the person at JP Horizons that I have known the longest: 58 years because she’s my cousin. For some people, bringing on a family member to work in your business would be scary, but for me this was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. The special little girl Linda was at five years old is the same great person she is today. There was never a doubt that it would work. I maybe didn’t know it was going to be a 21-year run, but I’m sure glad it was.
All of you who have interacted with her through the Working Smarter Training Challenge, A Better Way to Learn Financials program, reading the recap notes from our coaching calls or speaking with her on the phone would also be glad she stuck around, and you might also find her indispensable in those roles as well.
– JIM PALUCH
Even as I write this, I know Linda will be reviewing and formatting it for you to read, and one of the first traits of being indispensable comes to mind: the willingness to do whatever it takes without being noticed. So, Linda, whatever time of the day or night you are working on this, please read on and let me continue sharing the examples you have set for so many through the years so we can all learn more about being indispensable.
When we lead people, we need to be careful to give them enough recognition, but in some rare cases we need to be careful not to give them too much. True humility starts with something inside, and when it is blended with a tremendous work ethic, a great sense of humor, and genuine pride in her work, you have found a jewel! Note, I did not say a proud woman but being proud of her work. Linda has put her careful signature on every internal communication, minor to major project and client interaction. Every single one. Warning, when you have someone you can trust to this degree, it is easy to let her think for you, which can be habit forming and result again in becoming indispensable.
I am humbled to admit and cannot count the number of times it might be 10:00 at night or over a weekend that she is typing something or finding something in a file for me. We might sound like workaholics, but I’m not sure that is the right description. It’s just what we do; it’s fun. I’ve often joked that owning your own business gives you the freedom to work 24 hours a day, but in this case, we had the freedom to give it our all. The vision to energize people or help people become better was a driving force. Plus, Linda gets a charge out of finding solutions and solving problems and doing stuff and helping me and helping you.
To be indispensable, we could all get a better understanding of what our role is and become completely committed to that role. Linda is practically the only person I know who can read an entire computer or software manual from cover to cover like a novel. She has always been passionate about knowing what she needed to know to be effective in her role at JP Horizons, yet it did not stop with technology. I believe with every business or inspirational book that we have suggested to clients, Linda took the initiative to order a copy for herself to read first. I was always interested in her overall opinion, her thoughts and takeaways, and if she thought others would find value in a book.
Over the last 20 years, anything that needed to get done, got done. Even if I did not get it done on time to get to her . . . somehow it still got done, on time.
I think the greatest example of nothing being impossible was during the first years that she was part of the team. I always found it amazing that she home schooled her children and it never . . . ever . . . interfered with her responsibilities at work. No complaining, or excuses, or drama. She just did what it would take to use her time wisely and make it all work. I think there is a lesson in that for all of us . . . you simply do whatever it takes.
“Working with Linda was amazing.” . . . “All I needed to do was ask Linda and she took care of it.” I heard hundreds of statements just like these from meeting planners, clients, and soon-to-be clients. Everybody seems to know Linda, yet so few have met her in person. In fact, I believe some people thought she was not a real person but some form of artificial intelligence. The hundreds of companies that have transformed their organizations through the Working Smarter Training Challenge were nurtured through it by her willingness to help with a suggestion or extra information. I do not doubt that most succeeded partly as a result of her sincere interest and commitment to holding people accountable to continue training week after week.
In May 2003, Linda Coors and I put together the first People Solutions Newsletter. Now, after 941 weekly editions, we’ll likely think of each other at 10:00 on Thursday night for the rest of our lives. It wasn’t always that late, but if I too did not have the content to Linda on a reasonable deadline, it still always got done, and you had a bit of inspiration in your inbox Friday morning. As Jim wrote this newsletter, I could not let it all come from his perspective. Linda was indispensable to me as well all these years. In fact, as I think about it, every person who has worked for JP Horizons likely found Linda to be indispensable in helping each of us fill our role. As I had the fun adventures of traveling to Sales Jams and Leadership Jams and client events meeting and greeting clients in person, there was always a team behind me making me look prepared and professional. For many years now, that has been a team of one and Linda has always “had my back.” I know every company we have ever had the privilege to work with has great people that do little things to make their peers look better and succeed. It is one of those things that can go unnoticed, but is cornerstone to company success and personal fulfillment at work. I’m just fortunate the person that made me shine at JP Horizons is also my dearest friend.
– BETH PALUCH