A fellow blogger recently made the comment:
I don’t want to influence. I want to leave a legacy.
When I was the president of the Human Resource Association of Broward County, people would always ask me – What’s going to be your legacy? I got the same question when I became the president of HR Florida. My answer? I didn’t want to leave a legacy. I just wanted to run the organization well.
Seth Godin recently talked about the challenges of legacies. It was a good read for me because it encapsulated the problem I see most often with legacies. The organization then needs to carry it forward. Here’s an example: An association president creates an event or an award. It’s important to them. So important that it becomes their legacy.
Over the years, the next president creates something. And the next one. And so forth. Before you know it, the association has all these events to support. Maybe some of them are well attended and supported. Others, well, maybe not so much. So the association decides to stop doing some of them. Or merge them with some other event. Or change them in some way.
It’s not done for spite or even with disregard or disrespect for whoever created the event. The organization simply can’t maintain and support everything that’s been created over the years.
Now some former president of the association is all wonky because their legacy has been changed or discontinued. Feelings get hurt and relationships are impacted. IMHO, all because the president wanted to create a legacy.
It’s one thing to leave a lasting positive impression on others. It’s another to create something with the impression it will last forever. There’s a difference. It starts with recognizing which one you want. And recognizing what’s best for the organization.
Image courtesy of uhuru17010