If I told you to pretend you were going on a three-week-long vacation in two weeks. I’ll bet you could generate a lot of work that must get done before you go. Almost immediately, it’ll feel like the list will never end! SO much to do, so little time!
You can imagine what stepping away from your business must feel like. It’s the work of your life, the sustaining day-in and day-out challenge you grapple with. Celebrating the wins, and being even more challenged by the losses, year, after year, after year.
As the leader of a business, you begin to think about what you’ve created, what you are walking away from, and what type of legacy you have left behind. The legacy, in most cases, doesn’t come in the form of the actual company or the thing it delivers. A legacy comes from the way the leader of the company led. Whether that comes lives or dies, the leader sets his legacy.
The way we do one thing is the way we do everything. Learning about your unique leadership style before you’re ready step away can be a significant factor in what legacy you leave behind. You can probably, very quickly, bring to mind the people who align with names like: The Great Communicator, Iron Lady, First Lady of Song, or Super Brat.*
The way they acted brought their legacy – except in the case of John McEnroe – where we can be thankful he’s learned from his immature behavior.
If you recall, my last newsletter
highlighted a CEO who was ready to step away from his business. He wanted me to create his plan. This tells me he’s used to saying what he wants and having someone else execute the plan. It showed up everywhere, in just about everything he did personally and professionally. The way you do one thing is the way you everything.
It’s not always negative. He learned early on that in order to execute his plan, his vision, he needed people that could actually do that. His legacy is rounding out as a visionary who leads with his intuition, his gut tells him which way to go, and he trusts it because it feels right and it works for his company. He thought things through endlessly, until something bubbled and clicked together, and it usually happened while he slept. OK! Now we’re getting somewhere!
The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.
He also knows he must trust his people to execute what his gut tells him. Otherwise, he’ll drive them nuts micromanaging their days. He must trust them to execute in their way – not his way. He knew this. His way was to think through every intricacy of what could happen, communicate it, and let them loose! More often than not, they got caught it and they hit the mark.
So we began to lean into the ideas he had not acted upon yet, and began to visualize upon that blank sheet that was his retirement. The notes are flowing, sleep is bringing his unlimited creativity into the process, and he is writing a few pages each morning as he dreams and schemes what this next chapter may look like for him.
He was looking outside of himself for a puzzle piece to come along and fit the whole for the rest of his life; but that approach was something he had never used before. When he has a clear vision, when he feels his gut tell him it’s time to act, he will communicate that. And I will help him get closer to what he needs to execute the vision.
He is having lots of fun with this approach because it’s the way he works; it’s the way he does everything.