Business leaders should leave a legacy - Business Works
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Business leaders should leave a legacy

Niamh O’Keeffe
T he majority of chief executives are failing to use their influence and power to put in place a lasting legacy when they leave their jobs.

"By not creating a meaningful legacy during their time in charge of some of the biggest organisations globally / in the UK, they are missing a massive opportunity to be the best possible leader and to contribute towards solving world problems," says Niamh O’Keeffe, of CEOassist.

Niamh says that there are only a handful of CEOs who understood the importance of leaving a legacy, with Virgin boss Richard Branson probably the highest profile, in particular for committing to invest $1billion in developing alternative fuels.

"Becoming CEO often means achieving a lifetime’s ambition and the reality is that for most this is the moment they will be at their most powerful and influential. For some CEOs, it could even be their last job at the end of a successful career."

"We hear a lot from organisations about the importance of putting in place Corporate Social Responsibility policies which are fine up to a point. Creating a world leadership legacy is about something much more long-term and really leveraging the power and influence of an organisation and the individual at the top to bring about change for the better within a particular country or globally."

"While providing football kits to community football teams has its place, this is about CEOs stepping forward to help tackle world issues aligned with their organisation’s mission."

"For example, an organisation such as BP has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the past year, so putting in place a world leadership project on tackling climate change as his legacy would be a positive and potentially inspirational thing for the new CEO Bob Dudley to build into his business strategy."

There are many other high profile and relatively new CEOs in the UK alone who should be considering their CEO leadership legacy including ITV’s Adam Crozier, Barclays’ Bob Diamond, Lloyds Bank’s Antonio Horta-Osorio and Tesco’s Philip Clarke. Each of them is a powerful business leader with the ability to transform not just their organisations, but the world."

"The tenure of CEOs has changed dramatically in recent years. The typical tenure these days is about three to five years. In some places, it is considered bad practice if a CEO stays in place for ten years or longer."

"It means that everything they do in the business has to be focussed on results and success and by building a world leadership legacy into that strategy, a CEO has the chance to make a genuine difference to the world in which we live," concludes Niamh.

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