The Banff Centre, one of Canada’s most well-known
and successful professional development hubs, is 75 years old. How
do you even begin to measure such legacy?
First you can list concrete achievements: the thousands of performances,
exhibitions, and programs The Banff Centre has delivered over the
years. You can also consider the more than 250,000 alumni who have
attended different programs. However, to appreciate the true scope
of this legacy, you must look further. You must account for the
intangible, fleeting outcomes behind those numbers.
For instance, the effect those alumni had on their home communities
following their time at The Banff Centre. How many others did they
inspire? How did they change their communities? The task of accounting
for such outcomes is daunting, yet these are the true indicators
of a lasting legacy. As each of us aspires to build our own unique
legacy, we too must consider both the measurable and intangible
components of the equation. Here are some suggestions to help you
build your own legacy, one purposeful action at a time.
Success = Results x Fulfillment
The first challenge is to expand upon what you have traditionally
considered important when you account for the outcomes of your actions.
One of my main challenges as a coach and consultant is to guide
my client in broadening the spectrum of criteria they typically
use to measure their organizational and personal success. To achieve
this, I have defined a simple formula: Success = Results Delivered
x Fulfillment Lived. Over the years, I have realized that this formula,
in which fulfillment becomes a multiplier of measured results, provides
a perfect framework for planning and building a successful legacy.
Focus your energy by targeting concrete results
The first variable in the equation – Results Delivered – is the
most intuitive and rarely a challenge for individuals and organizations
to grasp. To build a successful legacy, concrete, tangible, and
quality outcomes must be delivered. For example, the corporation
must post profits, the quartet needs to record, and the Olympic
athlete needs to achieve a gold medal.
Account for the intangible outcomes by defining a fulfillment multiplier
The Fulfillment Lived variable tends to be more difficult for clients
to comprehend – at first. It requires a concerted departure from
results-oriented measurements to identify what truly creates fulfillment
for an organization or individual. Yet note that this variable is
a multiplier, so it is well worth engaging in "pragmatic imagination,"
the act of defining abstract yet critical outcomes of success. I
like to illustrate this using the example of an Olympic athlete.
If she defines her goal simply as winning a gold medal, her task
is relatively simple: do whatever it takes to win – train hard,
eat well, compete as much as possible. Consider this same athlete
expanding her scope by valuing personal pride as highly as winning
a gold medal. She begins measuring the level of personal pride she
feels through each and every action she delivers on a daily basis.
Her quest for success is transformed by this new sense of purpose
in identifying and practicing actions that provide this sense of
In the first scenario, win at any cost, there is latitude for our
athlete to resort to performance-enhancing drugs as a viable option.
In the second scenario, she will achieve her concrete goal in a
way that also rewards her with a deep sense of personal pride and
fulfillment. Her legacy will be an authentic, infallible achievement:
for herself, for her country, and for all the young athletes, including
future Olympians she inspires through her performance.
Defining the Fulfillment variable in the Success Formula is not
a license to avoid the hard work required to deliver results. Like
triple bottom-line accounting – Profit, Planet, People – or native
wisdom – act with seven generations in mind – it involves sustained
awareness, purpose and discipline, and leads to more efficient and
effective actions. Most importantly, it sets the stage for building
a lasting legacy, one purposeful action at a time. Bonne fête, Banff
Centre, and thank you for the intangible, yet so critical, inspiration
Download the PDF
version of Building a Successful Legacy
This article was published in The Banff Centre's
Leadership Compass, Summer 2008 issue.