Leave it better than you found it

(Mike McVeigh) A recent social media post took issue with a programmer’s comments about his successor’s lack of success at the same radio station they programmed for. I’ve never understood why some people want their successors to fail or perform worse than they did.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to proudly say that you work for a great radio station that is still highly respected and admired by others? We only remember the recent past. Failure after success is seen as a failure for the brand. Brands are bigger than any one person.

Thinking of that article reminded me of a similar social media comment about my success rate as first a PD/OM and later a station manager in Cleveland in the mid-80s. The author points out that while I saw success, those who followed me saw greater success and performed at a higher level. Even though it was written as a negative, I saw it as a positive.

My successor is an outstanding leader and one I admire. Set aside jealousy. We should leave our posts to appear successful and better than we found it. This is work. That’s the expectation.

We should be grooming our successors to make a greater impact. The “burden” should have been completed. Our exit point is their entry point, and a new perspective with different priorities changes the goals of the next leadership member. Successful businesses are constantly evolving. Help this evolution by pointing out theoretical “landmines” that may exist. Share insights and experiences. Provide perspective that may be helpful. Stay objective.

You should also be prepared for these insights to be rejected, or for their importance to be diminished. Don’t take it personally. I can tell you that while I want to learn as much as possible before starting a new position, I have to exert influence to form my own opinions. We hire you because of your experience, opinions, insights, approach and leadership style.

When you study the culture of a new group, you need to take an anthropological approach, but you also have to bring your own style to bear on it.

When I returned to consulting, I had the opportunity to overlap with my successor for eight weeks before doing a further 12 months in senior consulting. One of my quotes at the time was, “My ceiling is your floor.” This quote reinforced my belief that if you care about a company and are proud of its achievements, you should want to see it continue to grow. I am – very much so. Success brings success. Leave it better than you found it.

Mike McVay Current President McVeigh Media can be reached [email protected].Read Mike’s Radio Ink profile here.

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