At some time in the future, you will almost certainly be appointed to a new position and no doubt focus all your energy on creating a good start.
You will ‘Govern Change’, re-organise, look for new ideas and create fresh initiatives and wonder why your predecessor did not do these things. This is his/her legacy to you.
Your successor taking over your old position, wonders why certain initiatives were not taken and why some ideas were defended and some not implemented. This is part of your legacy; it has a limited life and will be remembered nostalgically on occasion.
Your legacy is left behind when you move on and in a limited way, reflects your work and results. It is fragile and subject to changes beyond your control. Your legacy belongs to someone else almost as soon as you leave.
On taking up your new position, you may be surprised at how much your new team knows about you.
They may already have expectations and may be adjusting their methods in anticipation of the changes you are sure to make.
Your reputation is already at work, preceding your arrival and conditioning reactions from a team of people whom you have not met.
Your reputation is at work, setting expectations and preparing people for your approach and style, as well as creating the environment where changes are expected and can be made.
Your reputation is part of how you exert personal influence over what you wish to achieve. A reputation may take years to build and is fragile. It can be damaged by single events. If you have a good reputation, then build it up, protect it and allow it to guide your decisions and behaviour.
Your reputation goes before you and is carried with you. It changes as you influence others and it changes for better, and for worse.
For a better understanding on this topic, consider enrolling on our Governing Change programme which begins in London on 3rd November.