Janet M. Letourneau, MBA, CPBA
President & Founder


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Acts of Kindness
In December, I presented to a  fine group of dedicated Attleboro Rotarians.  As I considered my presentation, and toured their Website, their mission “Service above Self” hit home!  Taking an excerpt from my workshop, “P.O.W.E.R. UP for Service”, the following is that Rotary presentation. I’d thought I would share it with you as we all begin our journey into 2011.


If each person realized their true P.O.W.E.R., our world might be a better place.  Best individuals make best organizations; best organizations make best communities; best communities make best states; best states, better nations; and better nations, a better world.

So how powerful can each individual be?  Very and they have a profound impact.

Like many people, I observe others – managers, business owners, instructors, students, parents, customer service reps, political leaders etc. And when experiencing outstanding individuals, I walk away amazed and think to myself, what is it that makes them so powerful?   Not powerful as in force, wealth, status, celebrity, or dominance; but powerful as in making a difference.  Just like the Rotary’s vision.

Taking each letter in the word power, attributes, which embody service at its finest, were apparent. As I review these attributes, I bet that Rotarians present will think of a few people they know or work with that have true power.  As you consider these individuals, I bet you’ve said, “If I could have just few a more of him or her!” This is what I consider to be the key attributes of those individuals who have P.O.W.E.R.

P is for presence. They just don’t have presence, they’re in the NOW; living in the present moment! For them, it’s not about yesterday or tomorrow, it’s about now.  They really listen; they recognize needs when they talk to people. They’re not looking at who is coming in or who is talking with whom, or whom they need to connect with next. Vicki Kennedy exemplified presence. This isn’t about politics. It’s about that rainy day when many people lined up to bid farewell to the late Senator and express sympathy and their condolences to the family.  Vicki came out, in the midst of her own loss and grief and shook hands with each person waiting; thanking them for their patience to pay their respects to her late husband.  That’s being present!

O is for Ownership. In everything they do, they act like they own the organization they represent. They think one mistake and I could lose this customer, hurt a fellow worker or a department, or create the wrong impression. They take Ownership!  At Bridgewater State University, the maintenance team takes ownership.  I have never seen such a clean public institution.  A few on their team who clean the men’s and ladies rooms, place a vase of flowers to make it pleasant. They want the visitor feeling like they’re at a first-class hotel or restaurant!  The BSU maintenance team takes ownership!

The W is for Wow factor. No matter what they do, they kick it up a notch or two.   They do extra to exceed expectations! Patrick, a senior at Roger Williams University, is an intern for my business. He was also my “fellow” for the enterprise class I taught fall semester. Patrick was paid for 50 hours to attend my class once a week, and support 19 freshmen enterprise students.  Patrick was to be available, with all of his experience as an RWU senior, and help the freshmen with time management,  college life adjustment issues, the enterprise course, and writing their business plan.  We continued to get emails early on in the semester informing us that the compensated 50 hours were dwindling quickly.  Patrick always said “No worries!  It’s okay if I exceed the 50 hours. I’ll do what it takes to serve these students.” Patrick has the WOW factor!

E is for Excellence.  It’s not what their job is. It’s about every task, and interaction performed with excellence. They execute at a high level for a long period of time. They understand job and purpose.  They make a difference!  Donny Achin, owner of Achin’s garage, represents excellence. As I sat there waiting for my car, a couple walked in needing help with an accident claim. They were directed to Achin’s in error.   Donny, with the utmost of patience, kindness and a caring nature, provided information. It took awhile for Donny to get through, because English was their second language.   Donny embodies excellence.

R is for Resilience!   They bounce back; no matter what failure or set back.   They realize it’s not what happens to them that matters, its how they deal with it that counts.  A few of the long-term unemployed, written about in the Sun Chronicle earlier this week, were hopeful and optimistic in the midst of tough economic times!! These long-term unemployeds are resilient.

Sabrina, a  freshmen student in my enterprise class, maintained perfect attendance, homework prepared, thoughtful interaction, asked questions, and spoke up. She had a positive attitude! With that experience, I sensed Sabrina had power.

My perception was confirmed.  Most of the 19 enterprise students were in the library the day before their business plans were due; together working in an intense fashion, stressed, and frenzied.  It was 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 2nd and Sabrina’s plan was done, printed and bound!  Her fellow students were poking fun and a little envious, I guess.  Sabrina didn’t leave the library; she stayed helping them, answering questions she had asked me, well in advance.  Sabrina lives in the present moment, she takes ownership, she wowed her fellow students and me; and all she does is done with excellence. I also confident that Sabrina is resilient!

If we viewed ourselves as powerful, rather than victims or the need to be greedy, we’d all be better off.  If the  Rotary motto “service above self” was widespread, I bet life would be a little better today for many. We need to constantly take inventory of our P.O.W.E.R. and its impact: presence, ownership, wow factor, excellence and resilience.”

Thanks for taking time to read my Rotary presentation!  Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!  And I hope to see you in 2011!!