By Sunandan Bhanja ChaudhuryWe all have an opportunity to make a difference! Difference to something that will linger long after you are gone! In the corporate world,which is a rapidly-changing world and becoming more and more demanding, changes in leadership is much more frequent now than ever before.
Leaders are driven by different objectives. Some say you need to be disruptive or innovative or have speed of execution or set up your business for growth. Great leaders think about legacy all the while – it’s something that keeps them awake at night!
The problem is that sometimes we focus on advancing our own agendas instead of building a brand! Sam Walton and JRD Tata took it further to build a culture in the organisation that would define the brand. They will always live on in the hearts of the people they touched. It’s what makes them immortal. Their stories will be told and re-told many times over after they have gone!
So what could be steps to building a legacy?
1. We must walk the talk!
We must live and breathe the values we espouse and believe in. Nothing in the world can create more credibility and trust than doing something we have promised no matter what the cost or the price we pay. Like Sam Walton did the Hula as promised in 1983 for exceeding the profitability goal.
2. Identify what matters and what will keep the organisation successful in the years to come
Look at the past as well -what has worked, what did not work, what made it so successful? What’s the DNA of the company? What is so distinctive about the company?
3. Create a strong vision and a foundation
Vision has very little value unless the whole company is aligned to it. Bring about a culture that supports the vision. As Sam Walton once said, “Capital isn’t scarce. Vision is.”
4. Commit to it!
Commitment is about sacrifice. We should not get distracted in our quest to build an organisation with a strong foundation of values.
5. Build a leadership philosophy and succession planning
Have a strong talent architecture to support the structure you have created. Recruit people better than yourself. Build a team where there is alignment of culture and ethos.
So spend some time thinking about what to leave behind – it will give you a purpose in life and a meaning to your existence. And remember that legacy is something we are creating every living day of our life!
(The author is managing partner at Executive Access, an executive search firm)