Once upon a time there was an executive communication director who had happily served several CEOs in the same organization.
Things were going fine with the new boss, too. But a year or two in, he just didn’t quite feel as close with the new boss as he had with the others. Didn’t feel fully trusted, didn’t feel sufficiently leaned on.
So he spent part of a winter vacation writing a nice long memo to the new boss. In authoritative detail, he wrote about the organization’s past, and the legacy of its leaders. He reiterated the future, as he and the new leader had articulated it in speeches and other articles. And he asked the leader, What will be your legacy?
And because he had supreme confidence, he humbly proposed what he thought that legacy ought to be.
And he submitted that memo, as food for thought, making clear he had no expectations.
And the boss called him in for a chat. And the chat turned into lunch. And the lunch turned into hours of conversation.
And the hours of conversation turned into a whole new relationship.
And they collaborated closely ever after.
True story. —DM