Leaders leave a legacy, intended or not, designed or not. Your legacy isn’t what you wish or insist it is. Your legacy is how others live and work because of the behavior they saw you exhibit. You control the legacy you leave behind based on what you cultivate in the culture you design.
The foundation of a leadership legacy is the talent. The talent keeps the business moving forward, the talent is your key differentiator, the talent is the cause that effects the life of your culture, vision and mission.Doing these things well will build a sustainable culture and leadership legacy.
Change your mind about payroll
When payroll is viewed as an expense, especially one that you are always looking to cut, you start to treat talent like a commodity rather than an asset.
Your recruiters need to be valued more than your sales team
Treat your recruiters better than you treat your sales team. The recruiters are the ones who decide which applicants make it through the gates to be interviewed. They are the first impression potential talent has about your company.
Your recruiters are sales people. Their job is to sell your organizations open positions to the absolute best talent out there. Transform your thinking about recruiters from mundane HR staff to top sales executives and watch the quality of applicants being interviewed improve.
Invest as much in talent development as you do in R&D
Products and services come and go. The market will change or a competitor will come out with a few more features or benefits. They may do the exact same thing only cheaper. Talent is your key differentiator. The talent serves the customer when there are issues, the talent sells additional products or services to the customer, the talent markets your business to the world and the talent fulfills your contractual obligations with your customers. The best most unique product without talent to power it will not do you any good.
Promote leaders from within
If you want the mission, vision and values that you have cultivated into your culture to continue on for years to come you have to promote leaders from within. However you cannot do this if you aren’t investing time, effort and resources into developing your talent.
Empowering talent at all levels
When you empower your talent two things happen. They make mistakes and they learn from them. Each level of talent should have a box that they are allowed to play in. The box gives them boundaries on the types of decisions they are empowered to make. These boxes also give them the authority needed to satisfy your customers. Think Home Depot and Zappos.com, these two companies do talent empowerment very well. Whereas Comcast and McDonalds do it very poorly.
The only way to ensure your culture, vision and values live on with each new generation of talent that walks in your door is to cultivate an environment that is focused on talent. Leaving a lasting leadership legacy requires as much focus on culture as it does on your own style and accolades.