A gift from the past…
that helps create a better future.
I recently facilitated a pre-retirement workshop with a group of 50+ employees from a district council in the Midlands. Along with the key issues of finance and benefits, health and healthcare, use of time and changes in relationships that are normally topmost in the minds of those that are nearing or preparing for retirement, was an interesting discussion on Legacy.
Legacies come in different shapes and sizes. There is a financial legacy that we may want to leave behind for our family members to help ease their transition into their first home, ensure that their education in completed or perhaps help them with the education of their own children.
There is the legacy of the memories that we leave behind and time that we spent with family members, members of the communities that we participated in and the support and service that we gave to others.
There is the legacy of our creativity that we shared with others – music, writing, skills and talents that we shared and that enriched the lives of others.
There is also the legacy that we leave behind at work that is a gift that we choose (or not) to bequeath those organisations that we laboured within to generate income to support our families. Our workplace legacy can take many different shapes and forms.
It may be innovations in products, services, processes or tools that we introduced to the workplace that helped it to be more productive or profitable.
It may also be in the sharing of learning gained through many years in the workplace; experiences that helped to shape you to who you are and contributed towards your success.
It may also be into the people that worked for and with you and how you enriched their lives and careers through your contribution to how they approach and perform in the workplace.
A legacy will no doubt be left behind; however, the nature of that legacy is best to consider well before reaching retirement and should be planned for from the beginning of our employment journey and revisited on a regular basis.
The workplace is a unique opportunity for us to establish a career path in which we acquire knowledge and develop new skills and behaviours as we take opportunities that would most unlikely present themselves in our home to stretch our capabilities and grow in capability and confidence.
We probably all have individuals that influenced our journey, our legacy is an opportunity to pay that forward and invest in others that have similar aspirations to what we had. As we read about the productivity gap that the UK experiences compared to our European counterparts, so we have the opportunity to help the future generation to close that gap by leveraging our experiences and understanding for the future.
Preparing our successor to take over the role that we currently fulfill within or organisation is key whether we want to move on to our next role or whether we are preparing for retirement.
Whatever the circumstances that we find ourselves in, I suggest that if we have not already visited the topic of our legacy that we take a few minutes to plan ahead. It may be the most important task that you will do in influencing your family and colleagues for good and ensuring that the things that are most important to you are not lost on your departure.