Planning for the 22nd Century
I have been impressed by the time vision of Maurice de Sully. The Bishop of Paris saw the need for a replacement cathedral to house the growing population of his city. In 1160 the original cathedral on the site was demolished, and three years later the cornerstone was placed. Twenty-five years after the start of the building program, the sanctuary of Notre Dame was dedicated (but not completed).
And the building continued:
In 1196 de Sully died, but the work continued . The work on façades started in 1200 and were completed in 1225; the West Tower and Rose Window are completed 25 years later; and by 1345 the cathedral is complete. It was six generations after de Sully launched his vision before the iconic building was completed; and now, 852 years later, Notre Dame is still relevant.
Where does our vision end?
I ask myself if I am willing to take on a project that may not benefit me, my children, or even my grandchildren. Every person has a personal time horizon which impacts decision making. This time horizon is reflected in how much we are willing to give up today for a potential future benefit.
Leaders reach out and grab hold of the future and make it real today, communicating it to us in such a way to allow us to know our actions today can bring the about the envisioned future. The understanding that we can have an impact on the future motivates us to action, even though we may not personally be a part of that future.
I am preparing for the 22nd Century (88 years from now). There are many notable items that started eighty-eight years ago in 1924: IBM was founded; the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was presented; the first Winter Olympics were held; and, Edwin Hubble announced the presence of other galaxies. An individual had a vision of the future, communicated that vision to others, and 88 years later the result of their choice and action still has an impact.
My choices may not result in a work of art or an impressive event or organization; however, I do impact the lives of people every day. Co-workers, peer, friends, and family – I make a difference. I choose to make a positive impact, to leave a lasting legacy.
Integrity, loyalty, friendship, kindness, honesty, and love: although difficult, I want these to be my measure. I am fortunate to have leadership positions with several organizations, and I approach my work with these groups to emphasize long-term organizational development and structure. And more importantly, building of persons and impacting their lives.
My projects may not take 185 years to complete; however I want to inspire others to continue beyond my involvement. The grandchildren of my children will be the Leaders of the next century; I choose to be intentional on my impact to define who they will become and how they will Lead.