Legacy in all its forms

Leaving a legacy is something a lot of business owners starting thinking about as they mature in their careers — and discussing — when I talk to them about management challenges.

It’s actually good to hear that building wealth may not be the first consideration. Yes, it’s nice, but building something that will stand long after you’ve moved on is a much more permanent legacy.

Building business legacy

In this month’s issue, we’ve highlighted Central Ohio companies that have stood the test of time. I know this isn’t a comprehensive list, but it is a good snapshot.

Some common themes that emerged from these businesses, which have been around for 50 or more years, are an ability to adapt and listen. Many of these companies make completely different products and provide completely different services than when they first started. Some have diversified, and others have moved into entirely new lines of business.

And at this point, part of their culture is pride in that longevity. After everything that has changed, they, and their employees, can proudly say, “We are still here.”

Our Uniquely Columbus, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at Cheryl’s, examines another kind of legacy. Founder Cheryl Krueger sold her company a decade ago, but Bob Happel, general manager and vice president at Cheryl’s who started at the business long after the sale, still mentioned that she’s responsible for building the company’s culture. (And of course it doesn’t hurt that her name is the company’s name, too.)

See the big picture

All this legacy talk makes me wonder about what legacy I’ll leave with my own life, which is a particularly potent thought around the holidays.

You don’t have to found a company or business dynasty to leave a legacy. But it is good to sometimes think about the bigger picture, and what kind of permanent impression you can leave on the world.

We all want to make our mark, and we can certainly do that in different ways. So, this holiday season, take a little time and consider: What are you building that will stand long after you’ve moved on?