Building a Legacy of Leadership

When you retire, what will they say about you?


Paul Schur, General Manager of Slalom in Atlanta, helps us consider the future of our leadership as he discusses building a legacy of leaders.

Paul believes that there is a leader in every person. We may not be ready to be president of a company, he says, but we can be “a leader within,” start where we are, and with intentional coaching and development from our leaders, we can become their legacy of leadership.

For me I think about what defines a great leader, it is the ability to build a legacy of leaders. Oftentimes I feel the measure of a leader is when that leader leaves. It's not necessarily what's accomplished when he or she are there and specifically I would say it's the ability to build leaders more than just your direct team. So, often some organizations may look at how to build great leaders around them. But if you think about it going two, three, four levels deep into the organization and truly building a legacy of leadership, a culture of leadership, it's really important.

I feel there's a leader in every single person. Not every single person may be ready to be president of the company, but they can be a leader within and they can be a leader from where they currently are. And so focusing on that, and focusing over time is really important. It's the ability to always be coaching, always be letting leaders lead. If you think about family generations, oftentimes parents play a role in developing their children and the generation above them also provide such great importance.

If you think about the elderly and the wisdom that they can provide, they can not only be a parent but the right grandparent. They can provide different advice and different guidance for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. There is something we all resonate with, when we have a conversation with someone that's maybe one or two generations from us just to really gain perspective.

You have to be intentional, at least that's my style. I think you have to think about that, you have to set up meetings, you have to take action. It's less about a philosophy or style. A company can have that, but as a leader to do that takes action and you need to seek people out. You need to set up those meetings. You need to have the conversation about what they want in their careers, which may not be what you wanted in your career, and allowing them to expand on their own path.

I think inside everyone wants to help someone else. The competitiveness of the world oftentimes gets in the way of that. But deep down as people, I think we truly want to help other people be successful and I think if you can measure yourself based on the success of others, then that competitiveness wanes away.

If you're thinking about developing leaders whether it be within your company or your community, don't overthink it. Keep it simple. Find, I would say, 10 to 12 people and have a discussion over lunch or have a discussion over coffee and talk about something like trust. Oftentimes, you can think about how complicated it can be to create a year-long program, it doesn't need to be that complicated. Start that first conversation. If you've got the right group they'll figure out what the next step is.

Paul Schur

Paul is currently the General Manager of Slalom's Atlanta Office. He has over 15 years of consulting experience (10 years with Accenture), including strategic product launches, large outsourcing arrangements, and new digital and mobil...

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