Legacy qualities, such as situational knowledge, emotional connections, “got your back” loyalty, and an ownership mindset, all these and more come by honoring and leveraging the unique past each established company possesses.
Curiously, some organizations with decades of experience willingly chuck aside one of their few competitive advantages: their legacy qualities.
Often, this act is not deliberate, but it’s clear. A team’s targets can be so far away (i.e. disruptive innovation) that where they currently stand looks downright ugly or scary. Which, if unaware, means everything that was done to get the team where they are now (and everyone who did it) was wrong.
“We never” and “they always” become unintended allegations and an indictment that our history has not served us well. In extreme cases, corporate history and the people associated with it are demonized.
The cost is severe when we blame our past for who we are now. We forfeit a resource no one else has. It’s true: What got us here won’t get us there. But what got us here are also remarkable people, tremendous successes, extraordinary lessons, and an identity of perseverance. These assets have the potential for informing the future in limitless ways. That is something you cannot buy.