What Will Be Your Legacy in Your Organization?

March 5, 2015 Lynette Silva Heelan

by Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Our legacy is in our own hands.

Someday, you will leave your current organization. You may retire. You may move. You may choose to continue your career elsewhere. Regardless of the reason you leave, your time in your current organization will be remembered by others. How will they remember you?

Personally, I would hope I would be remembered as a helpful and appreciative colleague. But I’m not sure I could point to something in particular that would be a lasting legacy.

When it comes to recognition, however, creating a culture of appreciation and praise through the Power of Thanks is very compelling legacy. A client who recently joined the Globoforce family told us:

“Our senior executives believe their investment in this program will be part of their legacy they leave with the company.”

Of course, with their span of control, senior executives have the ability to dramatically impact the course of the company, the culture, and the everyday employee experience. But that doesn’t let the rest of us “in the trenches” employees off the hook. How we choose to interact with each other every day is our own personal legacy, too. Consider the legacy you might be leaving in these situations:

  1. Everyone is slammed with projects. Nobody really has a free moment, but then an emergency project comes in for a colleague. She now needs help or she will miss a very tight deadline. Do you volunteer to pitch in though you really can’t spare the time, or do you claim your own work as more important?
  2. The team has just survived a tough internal meeting. Everyone is feeling a bit beaten down, but work still needs to be done. Do you join in the negative chatter after the meeting or do you try to rally the group to move forward in a positive way?
  3. Appreciation for others is not really part of your team culture today. Do you continue in the vein it’s always been or do you proactively make the change to be more appreciative of others yourself?

My point? Your legacy is in your hands. Look at the legacy created by this high school principal (email subscribers, click through for the video). Sure, this principal is “just doing his job.” But he never forgets the humanity of his students. He sees them as the important, complex people they are beyond “students to educate.” And that’s a powerful legacy for all of us in our workplaces – always looking first to the human need.

What is your legacy?


About the Author

Lynette Silva Heelan

Lynette Silva is a principal consultant on Workhuman’s Strategy & Consulting team, partnering with clients on change strategies to make work more human.

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