This week, President Barack Obama begins his second term, giving him a total of 8 years to make a difference, create an impact and build a lasting legacy. It may seem short, but it turns out CEOs are in a similar boat. According to a recent report by The Conference Board, the average CEO tenure has dropped from approximately a decade to just 8.4 years.
So, what is a legacy, really? In the most basic sense, it’s a series of stories played out through milestone actions and accomplishments. What story are you telling? And is that the legacy you want to create?
Whether you’re a president of a country or a company, here are some questions to help you create a lasting legacy worth remembering:
- Design Your Presidential Library: we know that every president receives a library. If someone asked you today to plan and design your presidential library, what would be in it? How would you highlight your passions, vision and achievements? And what would it say about your impact on your company/environment?
- Listen to Your Speeches: the president has countless speaking engagements every day, and even when he’s not giving a formal speech his comments are recorded in logs and meeting minutes. If someone recorded you what would they learn about your administration? What are your priorities and objectives and what are you doing to drive them forward?
- Audit Your Detractors: The 2012 election season was a clear reminder of the power of dissenting opinions. While these voices did not prevail in November, it’s crucial that the president consider and address these concerns in order to achieve success in his second term. Similarly, business leaders cannot afford to ignore or disregard alternative perspectives.
The President’s inauguration speech tonight is expected to be optimistic in tone despite the pessimism characterizing the government’s ability to tackle the nation’s most pressing issues. As a leader, setting the tone is the first step.