BUILDING YOUR LEGACY
Leader of the Band
Daniel Grayling “Dan” Fogelberg (August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass. He is best known for his 1980 hit “Longer” and his 1981 hit “Leader of the Band”.
Inspired by “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg
An only child alone and wild, a cabinet maker’s son
His hands were meant for different work
And his heart was known to none
He left his home and went his lone and solitary way
And he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay
After 48 years of dedicated service Pasquale Romanella finished his work, cleaned his station, shook hands with a few coworkers and exited Creative Steel Rule Tool and Die Company for last time. He left with no plaque, no card, and no retirement party – just with gratitude – thankful to have worked in the same place for 48 years after migrating to a new country at the age of 14. Hardworking, Loyal, Dedicated, Family man, Thoughtful – those are words that could be used to describe my father.
I always felt bad for him; I thought he deserved so much more recognition. A short time after he had retired there was no prouder moment in my life than when I was able to present to him my 25 Years of Service watch at Thanksgiving Dinner. To me there was no better way to honor him and thank him for instilling in me and our family the values and ethics that were so important to our successes.
It was those values and ethics that defined me, defined how I lived my life, and ultimately how I defined my leadership style. Over the course of my business career, primarily at UPS, I always wanted to honor the legacy of those that came before me. In my case the single most influential person that came before me was my father – but I was also influenced by others and in my adult life, my wife Debbie is my greatest influence.
I always admired George Washington. If I could go back in time and have a diner with one person, George Washington is always my answer. It is not because he was a great general, or our first president, I always wanted to ask him the question, “How did you motivate and inspire your troops to stay, fight and remain loyal against all odds?” During my 36-year career at UPS and later during my tenure as CEO I met, worked with and learned from some amazing people, too many to thank but all influential. To all of them, I say thank you.
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band
What is your LEGACY?
In creating your own legacy, you are trying to honor the legacy of those that went before you. With this in mind, your starting point may actually be your finish line. It is who you want to be at the end of your journey that actually sets the course for the journey. To help in our legacy journey and conversation, I have chosen the song, Leader of the Band, by Dan Fogelberg to highlight and identify our leadership roles and responsibilities as we create our legacy. I believe his thoughtful lyrics can breathe life into our conversation.
Here is your first challenge, think of the word you would want people to use to describe you at the end of your career. We are all unique, so what are your hands meant to do, what is the word that best describes what is in your heart and soul as a leader. The word that best describes your brand. Is it hardworking, dedicated, loyal, energetic, aggressive, decisive, thoughtful, respectful? This is just a small sample of the words that can be used to describe an individual and their brand identity. Once you have selected the word that you would like to describe your career, this word will sit atop your hall of fame leadership plaque and will define your brand and your brand promise. Your word is your bond, so choose it wisely. It will define you and your career. Word of mouth is still the best advertisement; it will be the word used to describe you and the brand experiences people had with you.
There are many ways to define success. I believe the ultimate definition of success will be in the answer to the question “ What is your Legacy?”. I subscribe to a simple but powerful definition. For me it was always about the answer to the question. Did you leave things a little better than you found them? More broadly and from a business perspective.
- Are your people better because of their time with you?
- Are your customers better because of their interactions with your company?
- Are the shareowners and stakeholders better because of your influence and stewardship of the company?
As you grow and develop, take on new challenges or simply move into a new phase of your life, you will be faced with complications and adversity that may set you back. Honesty, perseverance, and trustworthiness will become major factors in overcoming these obstacles and creating your personal brand and your legacy.
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