“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” —Warren Buffett
A principal of the architectural firm that I work with recently retired. As I listened to his colleagues speak and watched the video interviews with employees, managers, clients, and fellow principals I started to wonder, “What will people say when I retire?” Have you ever given it any thought? Here are a few of the things that contribute to your reputation and what others will have to say at your retirement party.
What did they see?
Actions speak louder than words. Were your actions authentic? Were you willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? Did you set a good example for others to follow? People are always watching; your behaviors have a great impact on others and their perception of you. What did they see?
What did they hear?
Were you true to your word? How did you speak of others? Were your words encouraging or were they biting? Was your communication style open and honest? Was it consistent regardless of who you were speaking with? What did they hear?
How did they feel?
Did they know you cared? Was there a sense of mutual trust and respect? Were you willing to invest your time and resources into helping them become the best they could be? How did you make them feel?
What will they say?
When that day finally comes and people gather together to acknowledge the contributions you have made to their work lives, what will they say? What did they see? Were your actions authentic? What did they hear? Were your words encouraging or biting? How did they feel? Did they know you cared? Your legacy lasts far longer than the years you put into any position. What will you leave behind in the hearts and minds of those you worked with?
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