My retirement speech
I recently took a course through Athabasca University called Leading for Legacy. My employer, D2L, paid for my tuition and provided “learning days” where I could spend work time on the course. Even better, I found out about this course and obtained approval to register by using the system that my team and I built over the past year. D2L Wave is live, and D2L’s employees are its first customers. Pretty exciting times!
Anyway, I wanted to share one of the activities I completed as part of the course. To help clarify your purpose, and how you want to be remembered, you write the speech that you’d like to hear one of your colleagues give at your retirement party. Here’s what I came up with.
Tina was a positive, honest leader who continued to learn and improve throughout her career.
She helped us all to see, appreciate, and leverage our strengths. She noticed and celebrated our accomplishments, which motivated us to continue doing great work.
She was never satisfied with “good”, though, and was always looking for ways to improve herself, our team, and the company as a whole. She took the time to think about how each of us could stretch and grow, and gave us actionable tips for achieving the next steps in our careers.
Under Tina’s leadership we always made sure to learn from things that didn’t go as well. We never felt bad about our mistakes, but rather appreciated them as opportunities to strengthen our approach to similar situations in the future.
It was important to Tina that we remained well connected to other teams and people at the organization, and that we all understood how our daily work contributed to the company’s overall mission. When things happened outside of our team that we struggled to understand or agree with, she encouraged us to think about why the actions or decisions might make sense from others’ perspectives.
In addition to focusing on doing our best work, Tina helped us remember to have fun. I looked forward to coming to work each day because I genuinely enjoyed being part of the team and atmosphere she created.
Tina had an impact outside of our organization as well. She shared her knowledge and expertise in various ways, including speaking engagements, one on one mentoring, and facilitating networks and learning opportunities for others.
Eventually, Tina left our organization to pursue a challenging problem in society that she felt she could contribute significantly to solving. She made noticeable progress on some solutions, and left behind some paved paths and effective strategies that others can continue to use in the future.
My hope is that a little bit of this is already true, but I definitely still have lots of work to do before the end of my career :)