Saturday, July 19, 2008

Think about posterity.

Another motivating factor for Washington was a concern for posterity. He knew that he was making history, and he wanted to do it right. Some critics may accuse him of being too concerned with how future generations would view him, but considering how he was blazing new leadership territory in a likewise new nation, I think his concerns were legitimate.

In his farewell address, Washington not only states that he will not seek another term as president, but he offers advice to the nation that he believes is crucial to its success. Note the emphasis on the success of the nation rather than his personal success. He could easily have written a farewell address that was entirely self-laudatory, but that was not his focus.

IDEA LEADER: When you think about your organization and its future, are you more concerned about your personal reputation or the success of your organization? How can you appropriately concern yourself with both?

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