Your organization is your legacy. For CEOs and other high-level executives, building an enduring organization is among the greatest contributions that we can make to the world. A great organization serves its employees, its community, and the larger society. Unless you’re working on a cure for cancer in your spare time, it’s unlikely that anything you’re doing is going to have a greater impact on the world and serve as your legacy in a more meaningful way than running a successful organization will.
What will get in your way? Many of the leaders that I work with are better on a spreadsheet than they are “across the desk”. They seek me out for consultation or coaching because they often trip up in their relations with the people that work with them. These “non-business” problems, such as lack of self-awareness, poor interpersonal skills or attitudinal issues, hurt them with their employees and their customers. Such issues can come to dominate the workplace environment because a pervasive toxic element in the air eventually overshadows even great accomplishment or profitability and can even undermine those successes.
Obviously, some organizations fail because of economic forces, irrevocable changes in the marketplace or other “just business” factors that are beyond a leader’s control. But in my experience, when organizations fail it’s usually because the leaders didn’t hire or cultivate their employees well and, as a result, couldn’t overcome whatever business problem the organization was confronting.
Nothing is more important to your organization than making sure you aggressively address threats to your organizational culture. Don’t wait until that “minor issue” on your team starts keeping you awake at night, or worse. Be proactive.