The Way We Say Goodbye, Is The Way We Will Be Remembered

Honor the space between no longer, and not yet.


As I have grown in my leadership and tried to do everything I can to build a great legacy with family, friends, and work, I began thinking about the best way to be remembered. After many conversations with leaders in various positions, I realized my legacy is based on what we say and how we say it. 

It is “The way we choose to say goodbye.” If you dig a little deeper into that phrase, the statement doesn’t focus only on the words we choose. Still, it also considers your actions during your limited time.

When we look to leave, most of us will be remembered in work and life for just a few words or actions that made a difference to others. 

So how do we say a good goodbye? Here are five things to consider in your transition.Ma

Make sure you successfully handoff of the baton.

Four runners running a mile can complete the distance much faster than one man.

The fastest runner can complete the mile in 4 minutes, but the relay team can complete the mile in 3.5 minutes, with each runner going full steam. A proper passing of the baton is the most crucial part of the race. 

The US Relay Team was the most talented in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but lost the race because the baton was dropped. 

When thinking of leaving and transitioning our position, we must be excellent at handing the baton to our successor. So here are some thoughts on how to pass your baton effectively;

  • The one passing the baton must keep running full steam until the baton is passed.
  • There is a temptation to let up because you are tired…almost finished, but you have to keep at full speed.
  • The one receiving the baton must start running before he receives it. The receiver doesn’t begin from a standstill but is already moving to gain speed. The intent is the one receiving is going full throttle, just as the one who is handing it off. Both runners must remain in the same lane. To step out of the lanes is to forfeit the race. The one receiving the baton cannot have a different agenda. The baton must be passed in a timely fashion. There are two distinct lines on the track that designate precisely the area where the baton must be passed. It can’t be extended indefinitely.
  •  There is a beginning. There is an end. If the exchange is handled correctly, it’s possible to gain a step in the transition instead of losing a step. Since the one giving is reaching forward, and the one receiving is reaching back, there can be a jump step gained in the transition if done correctly.
  • Once the baton is exchanged, the one passing the baton does not run alongside the runner coaching him but stops, catches his breath, and walks across the infield to cheer his successor at the finish line.

 I think that’s some excellent insight on baton passing. So, an effective goodbye begins with a successful handoff

An effective goodbye in leadership transition must be the #1 priority of the present leader.

When you are going to make the transition, it has to be your #1 priority. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, said this, “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make. It will occupy a considerable amount of my time every day.” He spoke those words in 1991 -Nine years before his anticipated retirement

The successor should have some good years to run the organization.

Back to Welch again from his book STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT, Jack said, “I wanted to pick someone young enough to be in the job at least a decade. While a CEO can have an immediate impact, I’ve always felt people should live with their decisions, especially their mistakes. I certainly have. Someone with less time may be tempted to make some crazy moves to put his stamp on the company. I’ve seen too many examples of that.”

Say goodbye to everyone but leave an open line to your successor.

Jeffrey Immelt, who is the successor to Jack in General Electric, said, “The most important thing Jack can do right now so I can take the reins is leave. I can always call him and ask for his advice, but physically the business can only have one leader.”

Walk away, giving your organization the best chance for future success.

You want to walk away and give your organization the best chance to succeed. 

Dan Cathy, CEO at Chick-Fil-A, said this,  “When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent.” 

When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent


In other words, when we on the inside don’t keep up with the transition on the outside, it’s only a matter of time we are not going to be successful in life. 


I am not in the transition process; however, many of my colleagues and friends are either considering retiring or leaving their current position.  

Talking with people got me thinking about the transition process. And as a result, I encourage all of you to consider this information. Any transition requires a game plan. Start thinking now.

You can contact Denis at for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

Legacy, It’s Our Time, Our Moment

Legacy word

We are but a speck in the moment of time situated between the past and future. We sit in the present. Every breath we breathe, every word we say, every decision we make; contributes to our legacy. Every single moment of every single day, we are creating the legacy we leave behind.

That scares me to death. However, it also creates an excitement deep within my soul. The time is now for us to create the legacy we want to leave.  

It’s our time, It’s our moment. Do something great!

We determine our legacy by our actions. However, legacy begets legacy and therefore what we do and how we do it, sets the stage for future legacies.  We all have our own lineage legacies that are the basis for who we are.  It is up to us to carry the torch or change for the future.  It is our moment and our time to shine.

We must influence others to change what is necessary to create a stronger legacy for the future.  We must be the example we want others to follow.

Albert Schweitzer said; “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it’s the only thing.”

We build our legacy from who we are and who we’ve become.  It is reflected in our actions and our social footprint.  This begins with a deep respect for our deepest values. What is it we hold most sacred? What is our purpose here? What can we pass on or teach? What is our place?  The answers to these questions are determined by our character. Character is the mark left on us by life and will be the mark left on our legacy. It’s the impact we make while we are here and the trace we leave when we are gone.

Character is what defines us.  It’s what people see.  It’s what people will say about us when we are gone.  Character is one of the most important things we have.   Character is cultivated from of our faith, commitment and the responsibility we take for our actions.

John Wooden said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while reputation is merely what others think you are.”


Our time is limited. Understanding that life is fragile and not guaranteed is crucial in the decisions we make and actions we take. I believe our greatest responsibility is to honor those who came before us and those who will come after. The legacy we leave will be reflected in the life we live. Our actions today will echo beyond our time, creating our legacy.


My legacy

What Does “Dad” Look Like

IMG_5473Dad, Father, Pops are all the words used to described my Dad and myself.  As I sit in my “creative space” (office) on this Father’s Day, I thought I would share my thoughts on what a “Dad” looks like.

Here they are:

  1. Unconditional Love – As a dad, I realized early on in my daughter’s life the need for unconditional love.  Loving our children is a forever endeavor.  It is not something we bounce around based on what they do or say.  Dads must hold on tightly, even when the going gets tough.  We must love our children at their very best and their lowest low.  We must love regardless of situations and circumstances.  Our unconditional love will be an example that our children can build their lives upon with their families and those they come in contact with.  After all, we experience unconditional love through our Heavenly Father, Psalm 36:5 -7 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
  2. Encouragement – A dad must be a great encourager.  I still reflect back on my Dad’s encouragement while I was in the batter’s box, entering the work force, considering marriage and family and going back to college.  I loved encouraging my daughter throughout her life.  I love it even more now that she is married and has given me a grand daughter.  My goal is to provide sincere encouragement in all things of life through biblical principles.  I believe sincere encouragement gives hope.  Hope and encouragement go hand in hand.  There is no situation or circumstance that one can’t endure when encouragement and hope are sought from the Word of God.  Psalm 55:22, Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
  3. Relationship – A dad’s relationship with his children is one of the most defining attributes of a child’s character.  That relationship plays a very critical part of a child’s emotional well-being.   A dad who is affectionate, encouraging and involved in a child’s life creates a sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and a strong sense of character. I believe our relationship with our children creates a sense of love, trust and mutual respect.  When a child feels secure, loved and cherished, they will reciprocate the same to others.  “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” — Proverbs 23:24
  4. Influence – A dad has great influence on their children.  One must understand; however, the influence can be both good and bad.  As a dad, my desire was and is to always have a positive influence on my daughter.  My dad had an influence on me in may areas and ways. In fact his influence has gently driven my life and indirectly determined who I am and what I believe. Proverbs 113:30 says,“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  5. Legacy  We will all leave something for our children.  The question is what is it?  A legacy isn’t something which we have no control over, but rather, we can choose the way in which our influence will remain once we’re gone. Like the shadow our character casts as we walk down the sidewalk, so too will our legacy follow us when we are gone.  The great basketball coach, John Wooden said,  “There is a choice you make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.”  My constant prayer is that my choices would lead to a legacy of a deep love for the Word and things of God and the attributes of a solid, strong character. Deuteronomy 12:28 says, “careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.”

I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to be a dad.  I also thank him for my dad.  At the age of 82, I still listen to his words and heed his Godly wisdom.  I see a man who is still working to show unconditional love, working to build a relationship with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  13482971_10206370814733957_8132093746923670676_oHe continues to encourage me in everything and influence in the background.  Above all, I see a man that is striving to leave a legacy of love, character and a devotion to the things of God.

This is my prayer, that I may follow in his footsteps and be half the man he is.