Your Legacy Outlasts The Ledger
In the book “The Character-Based Leader” by the Lead Change Group, one of the authors, Jane Perdue, wrote of a CFO of a company she was working with as a consultant. This CFO never smiled, demanded tight deadlines on projects, and gave displays of brashness and unchecked anger throughout the entire organization. His entire mindset was for everyone to acknowledge his financial sagacity.
Unfortunately, his behavior wore thin and he was dismissed eight months into his tenure.
For all his actions and justifications, one question remains – how did his legacy outlast his focus on the ledger?
There is such a prevalent thinking in today’s leadership push to drive profits and squeeze expenditures.
What do you have in your reputation when market conditions prevent the EBIDTA from hitting target? How is your character noted when the top-line revenue dollars don’t flow through to the bottom line?
While many leaders espouse “people over profits”, the reverse of that is often preached louder. But the reality is, profits gained are used up. They can vanish in an instant when a recession hits, or a disaster. And you constantly have to work every day, every year, to ensure profits keep rolling in.
Leadership legacy, however, will endure. Think of Abraham Lincoln’s presidential reputation. It not only stays intact, sometimes it grows as the years go on. Yet the fiscal state of the country during his administration is long forgotten.
How does the balance sheet of your leadership legacy measure? Do you have more character assets than liabilities? Your credibility and reputation will be more than enough to overcome any challenges to the marketplace. When your people are empowered and engaged because of how you lead, those financial valleys will be few and far between.
You will generate a more sustainable and long-lasting career of developing people alongside of the profits than having a narrow approach to what your job responsibility truly is about.
No one remembers the numbers of the best financials that Charles Schwab, Reginald Jones, or J. W. Marriott ever posted. But what lives on is their legacy for developing people with solid leadership traits.
How does your legacy compare to your ledger? Your leadership influence is the only true thing that matters.
(image courtesy thedesertreview.com)