A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

What’s Your Legacy?

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” 

Benjamin Franklin


I have a new friend, Michael Wagner.  Michael is the CEO of White Rabbit Group and he’s a delight.  He’s intelligent, insightful, and darn fun to talk to.  I met him while I was at The Frontier Project in Omaha, Nebraska and wanted to stay connected with him so, of course, I did via Facebook.


This was in one of his posts yesterday,

“If your organization was to disappear tomorrow, who would miss you?”


This immediately resonated with me for a number of reasons, the biggest of which was that many of my clients thought I had “retired” a little over a year ago.

I won’t bore you with the details as to why but know this, when I realized what was happening, I panicked and called many of my “regulars” to let them know I was still consulting, I was still available to help them, etc.


what?What I found was both comforting and startling.


Many clients had been worried; they knew I was still alive but didn’t quite know what had happened to me nor did they know how to approach my absence.

They missed me, but weren’t intrusive about it.  This made me feel cared for, wanted, and needed yet not impatiently so.


However, others didn’t care – they had moved on.  There are many HR experts in this town and apparently, I wasn’t that special, I wasn’t memorable and indeed, I wasn’t missed.

This stung a little.  Ok, that is a lie, it stung a lot!


Regardless, I realized that I had done what I encourage others not to do.

I had lost sight of my legacy.


I often ask my clients, the people I mentor, the young adults with whom I work, the recipients of my volunterism, my children and/or their friends these two questions,

“What is your legacy?”
“What is that you want to leave behind?”


I love hearing their answers, and I love it even more when I see them working towards their truest of end goals.  They light up, they are passionate, they are dedicated, they are aligned and they are focused!


This past year or so, I went on a very, very long vacation to Pity City and in doing so, I lost sight of what turns me on.  I quit caring about what I know and what I want to be known for.  I failed to do things that make me memorable and I certainly didn’t do all I could to ensure I would be missed.


My vacation is over and I’m back on the clock.  With the help of family, friends and great new colleagues like Michael Wagner, I am on track and aligned with my end goal.


What is your legacy?legacy


What is it that makes you uniquely you and what do you plan on doing with it?


What is it that you’re passionate about and are willing to blaze that trail to see it through?


What is it that lights you up and recharges your battery?


What do you want said about you at the employee recognition party, at your going away party, or during your wake?


And, as Michael Wagner so simply put it,

“Who will miss you if you disappeared tomorrow?”




Employee EngagementEmployee RelationsEngagementHappinessHuman ResourcesLeadershipPerformance ManagementRecognitionRetentionSatisfactionValue

Heather Kinzie • June 4, 2013

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