First, you need to know who she is and why I would want to quote her.

She’s my mother, Jerri Lybrand, but wait don’t quit here.

In 1969 she was selected as one of an Outstanding Woman of America.  She did all of the amazing things; ran the Leukemia Drive, school PTA, socialite, servant, mother of three busy children.  Of course, there is more since she helped see my dad get elected to two terms in the Alabama Legislature.  She was at factories at daybreak handing out brochures and smiling next to George and Lurleen Wallace, the governor and his wife, the future governor.  She also happened to overcome a divorce, three back injuries, and a serious bout with some personal demons like we all face.  Finally, she was the first or second woman to ever sell cars (Volvos, because they were safe and easy to sell to women) for a living in Alabama.

So, this woman who grew up in Centre, Alabama, answered a question I posed to her as I sat down to write this chapter.  “Mom,” I said. “What’s your best advice about communication?”

She didn’t really even hesitate.  She said, “Stick out your hand.”

In her experience, the best action is to initiate communication.  She then recounted to me how much she admired Princess Diana for this very attribute.  “She was no sooner out of her Limo before her hand was out greeting the people right in front of her.”

As I pondered it, I’m thinking that may be a bit more profound than I’d like to admit.  Imagine if we did little more in life than simply make sure that we were the first person to stick out our hand, what might happen?  Do you as a manager, a parent, a tennis partner,  a visitor, or a client initiate communication or do simply wait for others to extend their hand first?  Honestly, that’s a fine question.

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