How to Develop Staff and Leave a Legacy
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In Chapter 13 of 13 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, data analytics expert Ken Rona answers "What Do You Find Most Fulfilling about Working in General Management and Staff Development?" Rona shares how an ex-McKinsey colleague frames legacy ambition as team. Rona finds a legacy is better framed via people and, more fundamentally, staff development. Rona is currently VP Audience Insights and Ad Sales Partnerships at Turner Broadcasting.


Erik: What do you find most fulfilling about working in general management and staff development? Ken: I had a conversation with a friend of mine, another former Mackenzie colleague, who was leaving his company. He was working at a very large financial services company, and he was bemoaning the fact that he had left, and within three months his whole team had been disbanded and distributed, and he had thought of it as a very high-performing team that was doing really good work, and he was very disappointed that the company took it apart. And what he said to me was – you know, he’s all of 40 years old – he was like oh my legacy; they destroyed my legacy. Like and I'm sitting there kinda in my head, and I said to him like dude, you’re 40 years old, you don’t have a legacy, right, like that’s not it. And then I kind of thought for a second and said, you know what, dude, they didn’t destroy your legacy, your legacy is not the team, like that was not really the value of what you had done. Your legacy is the people. And I think that if you think about that your contribution was this group that you put together that was gonna change the world, I think you’ll find yourself very frustrated. But if you think about it instead and saying hey, I have helped these folks develop, be more prepared for their futures, hopefully helped them excel, you know, in their careers, like to me that’s the legacy I want, right. That’s the piece, and that’s all about staff development, right. I mean, really, what you hope is that you take their development seriously, you help them, you know, help them be more impactful, so a diplomacy issue again, you help them be more impactful to the business, and, you know, and help them, you know, become more – I mean I hate to – I don’t want to quite take this amount of responsibility but more complete business people. I’m willing to take that. And I think that’s your legacy, and I take that seriously, like I think that that is my job, and if I – if I do it right, I’ve made the world a better place by making them better, and also if I’ve done it right, they, you know, they understand it, they appreciate it, and I think that’s – I think that’s actually something good leaders have to do. I think you have to be concerned about your staffs. You know, you have to be concerned with the people who work for you, their well-being, their futures, and I think they understand that. I think they understand that if you are focused on their improvement, then, like they’re like oh, you’re looking out for me, right. So I don’t even think it’s about pay. I think that they -- most people are future-looking enough to say like oh I get it, like he’s just worried about – he wants to make sure that I’m prepared for what’s next.