Medium 9781605095837

Your Leadership Legacy

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Whatever your position, if you influence change in the lives of those around you, you and engaged in an act of leadership. And if you are a leader in any sense, you are creating a legacy as you live your daily life. Your leadership legacy is the sum total of the difference you make in people's lives, directly and indirectly, formally and informally. Will you consciously craft your legacy or simply leave it up to chance? What can you do to create a positive, empowering legacy that will endure and inspire?
Through an insightful parable, Your Leadership Legacy shows how to create a positive, empowering legacy that will endure and inspire. Doug Roman is a brash, thirty-something CEO heir apparent who assumes he will just waltz into the job after the death of the former CEO, his beloved Aunt Nan. But he must first embark on a journey to learn the three le adership imperatives that will prepare him to shape his leadership legacy. Your Leadership Legacy shows that leaving a lasting legacy is about more than just professing values -- you must demonstrate them by the way you live.

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8 Chapters

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CONTENTS

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ONE The Reading of the Will

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Doug Roman was not in the mood for stop-and-go traffic.

“Obnoxious music,” he snapped as he poked one of the buttons on the dash panel. The perfectly balanced sound of his custom audio system immediately replaced the cackling broadcast.

“Calm down, Doug,” he told himself. “You’ve got plenty of time.”

The reading of Nan’s will was set for ten o’clock; by noon he would be the new CEO of Mooseland Stoneware. His aunt Nan had been more than an intelligent woman and the influential founder and CEO of Moose-land, the most prestigious stoneware company in the world. She had also been the single most important person in his life.

Doug glanced at his reflection in the rearview mirror.

“You’ve grown up to be a very handsome man,” she’d told him often. “But that isn’t why I love you.”

Nan had taken full responsibility for him from the moment her doorbell had rung that rainy night those thirty-some years ago. The officer standing on her porch had explained how two young lives had been extinguished on a winding country road, the tragic result of the driver swerving to avoid a deer. In the midst of shock and grief, Nan had experienced a wave of relief, knowing that her younger brother’s two-year-old son was sleeping safely in the guest room upstairs.

 

TWO Every Journey Begins with One Step

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Driving away from Tommy’s office was a blur for Doug. What just happened? Why would Nan, whom I trusted and loved more than anyone else, do this to me? How am I supposed to discover my leadership legacy?

“I’ll quit, that’s what I’ll do. I love Mooseland but I don’t have to work there.” Even as he said these words, he knew they were hollow. He cared about Mooseland and he wanted to do right by Nan, but what was she asking him to do?

As Doug zoomed past the manicured streetscape, his thoughts softened a bit as he remembered happier days. “My, aren’t you full of yourself,” Nan had teased, “but I love you just the same.” On other occasions, he would carry on about a mistake this person had made or a crazy idea that that person had proposed, and she would simply give him a loving pat on the cheek. In more serious moments, like the one a few weeks earlier, she had responded to one of his tirades with a tone that still disarmed him. “I love you,” she had said softly, “not only for the person you are but for the person I know you’ll become.”

 

THREE The Fern Is as Good as Dead

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Doug was still annoyed later that evening when Elliott Stein, his friend and neighbor, stopped by after work. They had met several years earlier when they moved into neighboring townhomes. They were about the same age, and they both loved sports. When Doug wasn’t too busy with Mooseland business and Elliott got a break from his CPA workload, they spent hours yelling at Doug’s big screen over scored points, missed attempts, and bad calls.

“I’ve only got a few minutes, but I thought I’d see if you were popping the champagne, Mr. CEO.”

Doug had noticed that since Nan’s death, Elliott had come around a few times to say hello and see if he needed anything. During one of those visits, Doug had mentioned the upcoming meeting at Tommy’s. “It’s just a formality,” he had told Elliott confidently. “I didn’t think I’d be a CEO this early in life, but I’m ready.”

As it turned out, it hadn’t been just a formality.

“You won’t believe what happened,” Doug exclaimed as he grabbed a couple of microbrews from the refrigerator and headed toward the atrium patio. Elliott listened as Doug began a resentful account of the day. “First, it was my relatives. I can’t believe what she gave to them. And get a load of this.” Doug held up the journal he had begun scribbling in.

 

FOUR Dare to Be a Person, Not a Position

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A few weeks later, Doug was hastily writing a note for his housekeeper when the telephone rang.

“Hello?”

“Mr. Roman, this is Jennifer. I hate to bother you,” his secretary began apologetically.

“What’s going on?”

“We need your approval on the budget changes so we can submit them to the bank.”

“Can it wait until I get in? I’m running a little late and I still need to . . . well . . . what is it you said you need me to do?”

It was typical of Doug to pay only partial attention to her. “We need your approval on the budget changes. We’re supposed to fax the changes by four o’clock. Will you be back in time?”

Doug didn’t answer for a few seconds and then mumbled, “Well, I did say I’d be in later, didn’t I?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

“Budget approvals, right?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

“I should be there by two o’clock. Please put everything on my desk. All right?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman.”

Afterward, Doug thought about Jennifer. She had come to Mooseland directly from college, the daughter of a friend who needed a job. Doug never understood why Nan had hired Jennifer. Nevertheless, Nan had been confident in her choice. “You’ll see,” she had said, “Jennifer will be a part of the family.”

 

FIVE Dare to Connect

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My week is shaping up to be a bear, Doug thought as he parked his roadster at the community mailboxes Monday evening. His mind spun a review of the week’s priorities. Monthly financial reports are due at the bank by Friday, the presentation to Global Creations is scheduled for Wednesday, negotiations for the Hollis Brothers supplier agreement must be finalized, and—

“Hey, Roman, how’s it going?”

“Stein, what’s up? What’s new in the CPA world?”

Elliott pushed his glasses back up on his nose. “Not much.” Elliott stuffed his mail into a tattered canvas pack. “I was thinking about heading over to The Cantina for a burrito. Want to join me?”

“You’re on. Do you want me to drive? I wouldn’t want us to get stranded if your, uh, vintage automobile breaks down.”

Elliott laughed at the reference to his dilapidated ‘84 Volvo. “Oh, come on, let’s live dangerously. It may not be the prettiest piece of machinery in the world, but it has a certain charm and it gets me where I’m going. I can’t bring myself to get rid of it when it runs as well as it does.”

 

SIX Dare to Drive the Dream

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A few Saturdays later, Doug awoke to gray skies and drizzle. I guess that takes care of my golf plans. Now what?

His gaze settled on his journal and the napkin Adoi had given him. One shower, one shave, and two travel mugs of coffee later, Doug reached the outskirts of Eagle Junction, a charming mountain town nestled beside one of the largest natural lakes in the state.

Doug’s knowledge of Eagle Junction was limited to what he had read in the newspaper. For decades, the town had sustained itself by catering to the streaming supply of tourists who wanted to “get away from it all” by visiting the undisturbed beauty of the national forest that abutted the lazy town’s western border. Then a downturn in the economy dried up the flow of tourists and prompted a dramatic change.

After a period of heated public debates, the town had voted to allow casino gambling. A crop of modern buildings had sprung up, and an influx of new people and new jobs had revived the town’s economy.

Doug’s drive brought him past the newly constructed casinos and posh eateries. The new streets had names like “Lucky Lane,” “Blackjack Avenue,” and “Easy Street.” The architects and developers had made an uninspired effort to blend the new buildings into the style of the original town. Sadly, the result was a line of demarcation, clearly signaling his passage from the new to the old.

 

SEVEN The Fern Is Revived

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“Hey, buddy, are you ready for another great day at Mooseland?” Doug pointed the mister at the lush fern and squeezed a few sprays onto the vibrant deep green fronds, while checking the moisture content of the soil with his other hand. He heard a noise outside his ofice and called out, “Jennifer? Is that you so early?”

“Yes, Mr. Roman,” Jennifer appeared at the door in seconds. “I know it’s short notice, but my grandmother is coming to town and I’d like to leave a little early this afternoon.”

Doug hesitated. “That will be, um, fine. What’s on my schedule today?”

“Your weekly meeting with Brian is at nine, the Global Creations team meeting is scheduled in the main conference room at ten, the Mighty Moose luncheon is at noon, and, of course, the board meeting is at four.”

Jennifer’s delivery of the last item sounded ominous. Indeed, “the board meeting” needed no further explanation to anyone at Mooseland. Since the reading of Nan’s will six months ago, the subjects of “who would become the next CEO” and “the board meeting” that would decide Doug’s future had been discussed in detail.

 

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