On December 12 my father passed away at the age of 92 after a career
that took him to the level of Vice Chairman of the Board of a Fortune
500 corporation. In thinking back over the time we had together I was
presented with a picture with two sides to it. If you listen to his
friends and neighbors they talked about how involved he was in the
community and the business world. I can’t dispute that in any fashion.
Over my life he had been involved in local politics including serving on
the town commission. He was greatly involved ,along with my mother, in
the UN Association.In his business environment he traveled over to
Europe on many occasions.
If I flip the coin ,if you were, to the
father side I get an entirely different picture. I remember very few
events in school that he attended because work always came first. He
overly pushed us to achieve based on his educational record. So why write this piece?
am not looking for sympathy. Rather I am suggesting that there may be a
large number of parents out there who fall into the same track. whether
it is by choice or the culture of the organization they worked for,
families were left for second place. The result is are we leaving a
legacy as a great business person or a great parent? Or even more
important have we found a way to meld the two. Is the legacy we leave
behind that we have helped the world be a better place through
demonstrations of compassion for all aspects of their lives.
impetus to achieve this goal is as much the responsibility of the
organization and HR as it is on the individual. We seek to get our
talent engaged within our organizations,but we can’t accomplish that
without a balance between work and outside life. we do not prepare our
children for a future in the workplace when the model they have is that
the primary expectations is work. Work at the expense of the rest of our
So take a moment, as I have over the past several weeks
and consider what legacy you are leaving behind. Think of ways how you
can be of benefit to the organization and to your families at the same
time. Think of ways to present the kind of model that considers the
needs of the organization in balance with the needs of your offspring. The world will be a better place if you do.