In a recent feature for GovLeaders.org, Ray Blunt identifies what for him are the three most important choices a leader confronts in her role. Our readers will recognize these as applying not just to leaders, but to anyone who has ever wondered, "What bears upon my purpose?" Fundamental in the history of philosophy.
The three choices are these:
1. What is my purpose? It's not possible to fulfill one if you don't have one. What vindicates my existence--the existence of my organization? What am I FOR? What is it FOR?
2. How should I deploy my mind and my energies? A "time" issue to some. I like to think of this as ROA (Return on Attention). We become what we pay attention to. Attention is an investment on which we (should) expect a reasonable return.
3. Legacy. We may wish for or even strive for a certain legacy. But the judgment of history will determine what it will be. So is it a PR job? Is it a matter of being born at the right time? Hitler looms large in history. Is it merely legacy? Or is it a legacy that keeps on giving for generations?
What is provocative here is that each of these choices determine the other two. Maybe they are three aspects of the same choice--who to BE, for the continuing benefit of whom? In the end, none of these choices is totally subject to our control.
So is it the choice or the consequences that matter most?