Recently a software company in Orem, Utah, celebrated its 25th anniversary. In gathering recollections of the company’s history for the milestone, a friend of mine at the company remarked how impressed she was by the comments her colleagues shared.
“So much of what I took for granted as part of our corporate character – a family-like environment, a culture focused on working hard while playing hard and having fun, a commitment to serving our community – originated with the founder who passed away several years ago,” she told me. “His leadership and legacy extends to this day, even to those of us who started years after his passing. It’s like the folklore and oral histories of old – stories of the founder’s generosity and quality character still serve to inspire new employees to follow in his wise, kind footsteps.”
What fascinated me in hearing this story is how the business founder’s leadership style was likely just an extension of who he was. I doubt he consciously set up a culture in the company he started in his basement decades ago – rather, as the company grew to the global presence it is today, it retained the personality and values forged in those startup days.
Think for a moment about what you would want your employees or business associates to say about your legacy 25 years down the road. What are some character traits, principles or qualities you would hope they’d mention? How is your heart and soul manifested in your business? People connect best with people and stories – and that gives you a great opportunity to break past business barriers and connect with your customers and colleagues. As you infuse what you value or what makes you passionate into your business, your company story will come to life, and your legacy will be able to take root.