Author Your Legacy

We are about five years away from the boomer generation becoming a minority in the workforce. The change in demographics has businesses dusting off succession planning documents and asking increasingly urgent questions about strategic direction, talent quality, bench strength, and legacy. Leaders face a critical choice to begin the process: set the table for my successor or leave a mess for someone else to clean up?

In an ideal world, shepherding an effective leadership transition is aligned with the team’s strategic plan. A three year preview of the organization’s vision shapes business goals, tactics, and accountabilities. Once everyone is on board with the overall direction of the enterprise, who/what/where/when questions are easier to navigate. The “how” question is a bit tricky.

The legacy of a leader if often determined more by the way in which he or she finishes the job than by the accomplishments that populate a resume, a LinkedIn profile, or an award banquet speech. It takes a blend of confidence and grace to make space for the person who will someday occupy your desk. Like the passing of a baton in a relay race, both the giver and receiver have interdependent roles.

Follow your strategic plan with whiteboard session:

• Invite the right teammates into the room.
• Begin with a conversation about the transitions that lie ahead.
• Acknowledge the delicacy of the exchange and fill it with respect for old, new, similarities, and differences.
• Draw up the organizational chart of the future from current state to change state to desired state.
• Collaboratively evaluate your talent needs over time.
• Voice a commitment to stewarding a healthy change and divvy up responsibility for the tasks required to make it happen.

Author your legacy.