I’ve started to think more about my legacy. This might sound morbid, but it shouldn’t. I’m not worried about my eventual demise. Nor am I a hypochondriac. Instead, I’m concerned about the impact – short and long-term – that I have on those with whom I work.
An esteemed colleague wrote recently about the underpinnings of leadership in which he included strategic intent. Effective leaders, he said [Paul Power The Five Essentials of Leadership InPsych, August 2017] recognise that they need to keep watch on the big picture, and take a broader and long-term view as they continue to create and articulate a compelling vision.
As a management consultant I have to think about project deliverables, but I haven’t always thought enough about what happens after the project. I haven’t always been clear about the gift I want to leave behind when the project concludes. Sure, I want to deliver a good outcome and be invited back for more work. I assume all consultants want to build client relationships that endure. What I’m less sure about is the ongoing impact of my contribution to the working lives of employees and other client stakeholders.
I don’t think I’m alone in favouring the short-term over the long-term. I wonder, for example, how many job interviews canvass the desired legacy of a candidate. I noticed a job vacancy recently for a senior role in the public sector, and I wondered what might be accomplished by the right person in such a role. My conclusion was that a suitable legacy would be ongoing access for this public sector to suitably skilled and knowledgeable people who know what is expected of them and how they contribute to the greater good. Such a legacy seems wonderful to me, but I wonder whether others would see it that way – or even bother to look that far ahead.