October 19, 2012
Leaving a Legacy by Gerald Meck
“Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparation should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”
What legacy do you want to leave? As a leader, what would you like people to say about you when you leave your leadership role? This may be one of the more important questions you can ask yourself as a leader. Identifying a legacy provides direction and guidance to your leadership style. Writing a legacy statement provides a wonderful way to measure your performance and helps determine how long you should continue in your role as a leader.
To have any credibility as a leader, you must live what you say you believe. A legacy statement articulates what kind of a leader you want to be. Based on the legacy you want to leave, you will identify what current changes you want to make as a leader. Examples of changes may include strengthening certain character traits, acquiring more education, changing particular methods of work, building stronger relationships, etc. John Maxwell says “Only by changing the way you live will you be able to create the legacy you want to leave.”
In my former role as a CEO, I created a legacy statement which guided my leadership style and gave me a measuring tool for deciding when to complete my time in that role.
My statement read: I would hope that people associated with the organization I lead would say that Jerry Meck was fair, consistent and understanding in response to employee job duties and personal life situations. I hope that people will say that I accepted their suggestions graciously and acknowledged their hard work and recognized the contribution they made to the organization. I want to leave the organization in a good financial position. I want to leave the organization knowing that employees, volunteers and clients feel pride in their association with the organization.”
Our life stages change. After 26 years with one organization, I transitioned to North Group. This month, I will be 66 and eligible for full retirement. It is time to create another legacy statement that reflects my current life stage. How will I do this?
What would you like your legacy to be?