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Trading for Good

What we're talking about...

Is your SME creating the legacy it wants?

We all have a choice

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he manoeuvred his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. ‘I love it’, he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. ‘Mr Jones, you haven’t seen the room yet; just wait.’ ‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ he replied. ‘Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.’

My legacy gift

This March marks what would have been Dad’s 75th birthday – a time of year when I would traditionally have taken the time to thank him for the wisdom, optimism, good humour and integrity that had inspired me as a youngster and sustained me as an adult.

When tributes to the late Roy Fines poured in, it came as no surprise how many recalled his sunny disposition, his admirable ability to smile in the face of adversity or to search for the positive in every person, place or situation he encountered. It also seemed entirely predictable that he should have documented the moving piece above along with a multitude of other inspirational works, music and quotes and packaged them up for my safekeeping and contemplation into a folder marked ‘My Philosophy’.

Dad hadn’t left his legacy to chance. What a gift for me to be able to discover and learn from the philosophy behind his actions, the mindset behind his motivation. What a triumph for him to be remembered by so many for precisely the qualities he had privately been striving to cultivate.

Do the things you want to be remembered for

His gift to me is priceless. It’s touched me in simple yet immensely powerful ways. Most profoundly, upon digesting the contents of his folder, I realised that I wasn’t yet doing the very things I wanted my children to remember about me when I could no longer be with them.

Dad had helped me to discover a vantage point that allowed me to see my actions in a whole new light. He’d given me the gift of clarity and perspective – an ‘internal compass’ and a tangible way to sense check whether the life I was living was creating the legacy I wanted to leave.

So here’s to muddy puddles, my countless baking disasters and kitchen dance offs with a two and a three year old with the volume turned to ‘high’ when, quite frankly, the floor could do with a good mop!

How do you want your company to be remembered?

Trading for Good celebrates the achievements of small businesses and works to help them make life better for their employees. As SME business owners it is increasingly difficult to stop the internal chatter, eliminate external distractions and refocus our energies and efforts on the things we had every good intention of establishing before we became immersed in the complexities and challenges of SME leadership.

Ask yourself this: When employees move on, how would you wish your company to be remembered by them? Which adjectives would you hope to hear them share with stakeholders to describe the culture you have cultivated? Now check alignment with your internal compass and ascertain what (if anything) needs to be done to navigate your SME in the direction of a legacy you’d be happy for future generations to uncover.

Lisa Barber

Lisa is a SME Sales and Marketing Mentor and founded Roots and Wings in June 2013. The company supports SME sales and marketing leaders to cut through the ‘noise’ and focus their time and energy where they will have the greatest impact. Lisa has Board level credentials within one of Hampshire’s most acclaimed SMEs, is a CMI-accredited Coach and Mentor and an ambassador for female sales and marketing leaders within small to medium-sized businesses.

Lisa Barber
About the Author

Lisa Barber

Lisa is a SME Sales and Marketing Mentor and founded Roots and Wings in June 2013.

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