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How can CEOs create a lasting legacy?

What is a legacy?

It’s the product of the decisions you make while you’re leading your business. It’s the values and the culture that you leave behind, not with your customers or your clients, but with your people. A lasting legacy comes from the expectations that you instill in your employees, expectations that they will rise to meet even after you’ve left the business.

Your legacy as CEO can only be sustainable if it’s embedded in your company, not your customers. If you’ve built a customer-centric legacy then when you leave your company, your customers will follow.

So, if a sustainable legacy starts and ends with your people, then during your tenure as CEO you have to work closely with those that are in charge of your people: HR. That way your strategic vision will not only be effectively communicated, but built into the foundations of your business.

The number of CHROs on FTSE 100 boards is steadily rising with over 70% of them now having a seat at the table. It goes to show that top CEOs understand that working with HR is imperative to securing their legacy. It’s not enough to have a brilliant strategic vision, your employees must understand why you are heading in that direction. Working with HR means that your people consistently understand where the business is going, and what they need to do to get there.

As an example, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, asked his employees to consistently consider the question: “will what you’re doing right now result in a win for the company?” During his time as CEO, he took GE from a $13 billion company to a $480 billion company in just under 20 years – now that’s a legacy.

So, how will you create your legacy?

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