Posts Tagged ‘Legacy’

We’ve all heard it said, “just because we can does not mean we should.”

So, so true! And it holds true in leadership, as well. And how we handle this will greatly influence our legacy.

Think in terms not only of what you are doing, but also give some time to thinking about what you should not be doing — those things that may be taking valuable time and resources away from making the impact you desire.

Time to get out your journal, and on a clean, fresh page, draw a line down the middle so you have two columns — one on the left and one on the right. In the left column, make a list of the ways in which you are investing your time, energy, and resources that are showing substantial return. In the right column, make a list of the ways in which your investments are bringing only a weak, or no return.

Once you have clarity around this, you may choose to do things differently, to invest your influence, focus, time, energy, and other resources in higher-return pursuits.

Then, take it one step further…What will you do differently, now?

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We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will. ~Chuck Palahniuk

I believe I’ve mentioned the idea, before, about how with every interaction we have the opportunity to build or damage trust (earn trust dividends or pay trust taxes, as Stephen MR Covey would say). Well, there are other types of capital for leaders; in addition to trust, there is personal capital (ability, time, and influence) — things you have control over, and corporate capital (brands, product lines, etc…). Every day, and throughout your career, you will have the opportunity to make trade-offs with the various types of capital you have within your control. As we would with our money, we might make a withdrawal of one type of capital in order to invest it in another area, with the expectation of a positive pay-off at some point in the future.

In many ways, your legacy as a leader will be defined by your ability to shift capital from unproductive ventures to more profitable areas.

For an example of this, take a look at Indra Nooyi, chief strategist of PepsiCo, Inc. She was the driving force behind Pepsi’s transition from just being a soft drink company to becoming a more diverse producer and distributor of some healthier fare. Under her direction, the company bought Quaker Oats, which brought Gatorade and Quaker Oatmeal into Pepsi’s portfolio. She also drove the acquisition of Tropicana, which allowed Pepsi to add a well-known fruit juice to the portfolio. Later, she persuaded the company to sell Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, essentially getting out of the “fast food” (or Quick Serve) industry.

Because of her efforts, only 20% of Pepsi’s sales wee from soft drinks by 2006, compared with 80% for Coca-Cola. Based on her accomplishments, Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo.

What do you think she said when asked about the legacy she hoped to leave? She wanted Pepsi to be regarded as “both a commercial and moral success — turning profits while combating obesity.”

That’s a tall order, one might say, but it’s clear the woman is not easily discouraged by circumstances and conditions. She has a vision, she has the capital — both personal and corporate — to use at her disposal in crafting the company she dreams of…

Let’s transition now, and look inward. In what area of your life / business do you think you are wasting capital?

What can you do differently to reinvest your resources for a more favorable outcome?

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Good morning and Happy Friday! It’s been another fast and busy week. I’ve been working hard to be more focused to ensure my time is spent productively, and not just busily. It’s paying off! I started a big project I’ve been putting off for some time, and took care of a couple of other things that have been on my to-do list for some time. It feels really good, very satisfying.

Monday night, I drove up to the Akron-Canton area and spent some time with several other members of the John Maxwell Team. It’s always great to spend time with these folks — energizing, supportive, encouraging, and like-minded when it comes to growth and development. Taught this week’s Empowerment Mentoring lesson on Attitude on Tuesday. Had a meeting with a woman interested in coaching last night. A good week, a productive week, and I am really tired and looking forward to this weekend!

I have some proposals to work on, some writing to do, preparation for next week’s Empowerment Mentoring lesson on the Terror Barrier (oooh, this one is sooooo powerful!). I am treating myself to a pedicure tomorrow, will get lots of sleep, will spend some time preparing for some trips coming up in a few weeks. O.h, and time on my bike and yoga (have to say, it feels good!).

What about you? What do you have planned for this weekend?

Who will you spend it with?

What do you need to do to set yourself up for success on Monday?

What’s going on in your life in the coming weeks and months that you need to spend some time thinking about and planning for?

However you spend it, make it intentional!

Remember…whatever it is you’re doing, it’s building your legacy!

“See” you on Monday!

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I’m guessing you’ve spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and effort achieving whatever level you’ve attained in your life to-date. And while I’m certainly not suggesting you are close to being done, I do believe there is no time like the present to start thinking about, planning for, and taking action toward whatever legacy you want to leave.

What is the biggest need you see within your organization, your community, your family?

What skills, talents, experience, gifts do you possess that would be of benefit in this situation?

How could you give back in a meaningful way, in alignment with that need?

If the idea seems overwhelming, it needn’t be. Start small. Do something relatively easy for you to do, with a short-term commitment. Work your way up to taking bigger steps each time. You might be amazed at how impactful something is that you considered to be very small.

And if you’re not already a “giver,” I guarantee you will like the way you feel when you do give…selflessly.

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Spend some time today thinking about someone who has given back to you or your organization. There are lessons to be learned here, if you are open to them.

Who was the person and how were/are you connected to them?

What did he/she do for you or your organization?

What lesson did you learn from their action?

How did you show your appreciation for their contributions?

If you haven’t done anything, yet, how can you show appreciation?

What impact will your showing appreciation to the person have on you today?

What example will you be setting for others?

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As you are no doubt aware, building a legacy takes time. In fact, it takes intentionality, hard work, time, commitment, and the willingness to simply give — to be unselfish.

As we discussed yesterday, giving back is a critical component of building a legacy. Today, I encourage you to spend some time giving this idea some serious thought. Get your journal out and make two columns; the left side can be narrower than the right.

In the left column, make this list, running down the page: Time, money, ability, example, “stuff”, influence. Next to each item, leave some space for ranking.

In the right column, leave space for writing out examples of each item that you have to give.

Now for the ranking – rank each item in order of how much you are doing to build your legacy, with 1 being little or nothing and 6 being a lot. Then go back and write out what you are already doing in each area. Then, in a different colored pen, write out what you could be doing that would be more meaningful in each area. If you’re willing to really commit, put down some specific actions and deadlines, and then share your list with someone you trust, who will be willing to support you in this endeavor, and who will encourage you to hold yourself accountable.

I would love to hear what’s on your list; use the comments box below to share your thoughts!

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I don’t mean to start this week off on a depressing note, rather, more so to wake you up. Each of us has a limited time on this planet; while we don’t know exactly what it will be, each of us has a definite “end date.” I assume, because you’re reading my blog, you have some interest in growth, leadership, and discovering your purpose in life. Well, as we talk more and more about legacy this month, I would suggest that part of your purpose — part of each person’s purpose — is to give back.

To share one’s talents, one’s wealth, one’s experience, one’s wisdom…After all, you can’t take it with you when you go, so why not make the most of it while you are here? Perhaps you might consider what it means to be a river rather than a reservoir.

If you need some examples, they are more than abundant, but here are a few you can look into:

Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own brand of dressings and salsas. While the business was started as sort of a joke between Paul and a friend, it turned out to be quite successful and a boon to a number of selected charities. Clearly, Newman didn’t need the income and there were (still are) plenty in need of what he had to offer. 100 percent of the proceeds from the Newman’s Own brand goes to a list of charitable organizations, and as of 2011, the brand had donated more than $250 million. Nor did he give just money; for years, Newman spent his summers with terminally ill children at his Hole in the Wall Gang Camps.

Bill and Melinda Gates are well known for many things, not the least of which is The Giving Pledge — an effort to enlist the wealthiest to pledge to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The list of people who have made the pledge certainly reads like a “Who’s Who…” of the world’s rich and successful people: Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, Barron Hilton, and the list goes on and on and on…

This is not to suggest each of these people are perfect or performing on a higher plane. I share these thoughts only to get you thinking about legacy; clearly each of them (and numerous others not mentioned) has given it serious thought and they’ve taken action to ensure they leave a lasting legacy in some way that speaks of their passion and commitment, and desire to make a difference for someone, in some place, at some time.

My question to you today is this: How are you giving back to society?

If you aren’t already, are you thinking about it and considering a plan?

What causes speak to you?

What methods and models of giving are a good fit for you?

I discovered “anonymous acts of kindness” a few years ago, and take many opportunities to provide gifts and kindnesses to others. My recent trip to Guatemala was, in essence, a mission trip…fueled by my passion to teach leadership principles to those who yearn for change and growth. We make a number of charitable contributions throughout the year. I’d have to say, in my experience so far, that giving money is the easiest (unless you don’t have any!) but I find sharing my talents, knowledge, and experience with others far more rewarding…

I encourage you to find a need that pulls at your very soul, and find a way to feed it.

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Happy Independence Day, for those of you who celebrate such days!

What better day than this to spend some time in reflection?

Now that you’ve written the obituary you would want to be published when you go, what is true about where you are in life today?

What might you need to change in your life to achieve your desires…to create the legacy you want to leave?

What directional shifts will you need to make?

Who can you enlist to support you in this endeavor?

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Have you asked yourself the question, yet: What do I want to be remembered for? What legacy do I want to lead?

You see, this is like success; unless you can define what success looks like for you, you won’t reach it…So, if you want to leave a certain legacy, you need to go about doing it intentionally.

Here’s an interesting exercise for you; perhaps an uncomfortable one…but I promise, if you are open and actually DO it, it will be most revealing to you!

Write your own obituary, as you would want it to be published when you’re gone.

I’m serious — get started today!

Then, share what you’ve written with someone you trust and respect. Ask them for feedback; if that is how you want to be remembered, are you on track and what do you need to do or stop doing to make it real?

Ask them, “If I did nothing more, and died tomorrow, what would I be remembered for?”

I’d love to hear what you come up with!

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When you think of the word “legacy,” what person or organization comes to mind? Are you thinking of someone or organization because they left a positive legacy, or a negative one?

Why do you think their legacy made such an impression on you?

Think of it in terms of the ripple effect; envision the concentric circles formed in a pool when you drop a stone into it. The center-most circle is the first impression the person/organization made on you. The next ring is when they did or didn’t earn your trust. The third ring is what they did to maintain (or break) your trust and respect. The fourth ring is their current impact — what they are doing now, in real time. The outer-most ring is their future impact, and this one reaches the farthest.

What was your first impression?

What initially earned your trust and respect?

How does the person continue to earn/maintain your trust and respect?

What is the current impact of this person or organization?

How will tomorrow be different because of this person’s/organization’s impact?

Yesterday, I introduced you to one of my former leaders, Tom Stokes, CEO of Tree Top, Inc. My first impression of him was that he was a regular guy. When I interviewed with him, he was clearly comfortable in his role and in his skin. He was open, welcoming, treated me with respect and as if I had expertise the organization needed. While my position would be a couple of layers beneath his in the org chart, he treated me as if we were equals — equally valuable and with much to offer.

He was open, honest, transparent about the challenges facing the organization, and about its strengths. He had a vision and a plan for what he needed to do, and was building his inner circle to ensure he had competent, confident people around him to carry out the work. He was supportive and straight with me, even when circumstances called for difficult conversations. He conferred with his inner circle, gave serious consideration to the various inputs he received, and did not shy away from making the hard decisions.

While I’ve been away from the organization for five years, I understand he has not changed in these respects. I maintain my connections and friendships with former co-workers, and they respect him, as well. He’s done enormous good within the communities where the company operates, both in terms of financial support and through staff expertise and collaboration.

Personally, aside from everything I’ve said about him so far, he has proven to me that functional, healthy organizations do exist. And having worked for a number of them, I’ve personally experienced the opposite in terms of dysfunction and poor leadership.

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