In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey articulates this habit so clearly when he asks the reader to picture … their own funeral. He describes the setting and the speakers, one from each area of the reader’s life. He asks:
What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of friend? What kind of working associate?
Instead of your funeral, let’s say it’s your last day. You’ve been promoted or you’ve found an opportunity with another organization. There’s a going-away luncheon. Glasses are raised, toasts are offered. Smiles and laughs all around. A few have volunteered to share their stories of working with you.
What would you like these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of friend? What kind of working associate?
What would they say about how you engaged them? Yes, that’s too generic, too buzz-wordy. Would they say that you:
- Allowed them to fail,
- Backed them up and defended them,
- Ensured that they had the best equipment, tools and resources,
- Fought for their training budget ,
- Gave them family time when they needed it ,
- Recognized their achievements, and
- Weeded out the “actively disengaged”?
What are the KPIs, Key Performance Indicators, that you achieved with them?
What are their fond memories of your integrity, your compassion and empathy?
Write it all down. Share it with someone you trust, someone who knows you, warts and all. Ask them what it would mean for them if your end in mind was made real. Ask yourself if all of that matters to you.