Legacy by James Kerr
As I started reading the book I couldn’t directly see how this was relevant, maybe partially my fear of all things sporting and the initial feeling that this was a bit too much like just a biography of the New Zealand All Blacks. It was worth persevering though as there are some great pearls of wisdom to help me define my next steps.
In the first chapter on ‘Character’ it became much clearer that we focus at BCS on performance at work in isolation to the individual’s team members performance in their personal lives. As such developing people needs to have a much greater emphasis on their personal achievements.
One of the issues of concern with our senior engineers for the legacy plan is ‘Who is responsible for looking out for the next big thing’. I had this as a note already, but I realised that the question being asked was not correct. It is not about the ‘what’ but more about the ‘when’ to change and the ‘how’ to make the leap from one thing to the next big thing. More work for me to do on this.
In the section on ‘Purpose’, James references Daniel Pink’s book Drive (on my list to read) saying that people leave well-paying jobs for purpose driven jobs. As such, we need to ensure that the roles on offer within our business have clearly defined purpose. Although we are in the middle of a pay structure review for the engineers, we need to ensure emotional reward has been fully actualised too.
The section on ‘Learn’ talks about the aggregation of marginal gains for which I have always been a massive fan. Until reading this book I didn’t think about teaching the people I lead to use this technique to drive self-improvement. Additionally, it’s important not to overlook the part that the environment plays on achieving these marginal gains.
Under the topic of ‘Sacrifice’, James says that “Champions do Extra”. In physical training, he talks about an extra rep or an extra 10 minutes on a run. For our team at BCS, I guess it’s about providing just a little more service than the customer expects or perhaps studying to the next level up than needed for the work we are undertaking today.
As part of the work for the legacy plan at BCS we are defining the whole business ‘Play Book’, but ‘Legacy’ has helped me define a section of this based on the ‘Black Book’ given to new All Blacks team members. The BCS version will have many of the same lines, such as ‘No one is bigger than the team’ plus extras that I think the team will enjoy getting down on paper.
I forgot to mention that this book has done it’s best to teach us some Mãori terms. Towards the back of the book is a section called ‘Whakapapa’ which means ‘You are but a speck in the moment of time situated between two eternities, the past and the future’. The legacy planning work I am currently undertaking at BCS is to ensure the business has a bright future after the current shareholders exit. An Old Greek proverb mentioned in this section tells us ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never see’ and that resonated with me.
A great book and one that deserved 21 little post it flags attached to the pages with content I need to give additional attention.