If you ever have a chance to work with an industry legend, don’t think twice.  Jump in and grab the opportunity.  It will propel your career and you’ll have the ride of your life.  In fact, it’s smart targeting — so why not start now on a campaign to identify a new boss, client or strategic partner?
Legends generally generate headlines, as they are game-changers, inventors and innovators who loathe the status quo.  You will find them profiled in national and international business media — or industry-specific trade publications and websites.  They deliver solutions, entertainment, time-savers or a competitive edge.
Legends don’t have to be household names.  They also populate the inner workings of many organizations and professional service firms.  They are the rainmakers and pioneers who identify promising new markets, product offerings and get there first.  They are the heir apparents, chomping at the bit to succeed the incumbent leadership.
What characteristics define a legend?   They can be studies in contrast and contradiction:
  • Change Agents.  They are game for something new and usually get the ball rolling.
  • Stay-the-Course.  But once they aim for a target, they are tenacious in sticking with the path to progress and achieving the goal.
  • Big Picture.  Legends are excellent conceptualizers.  When they get a whiff of a good idea to support the business, they jump on it.  What a delight!  They click in to the end result, just as you are setting up the premise in the pitch.  They can visualize the gist of a product, promotion or campaign that you have strategized.
  • Detail-oriented.  But you better be ready to show that you have thought out the concept when they drill down with specific questions — as they surely will — just to be sure you’ve been thorough.
  • But No Micromanaging.  Hooray! They are crystal clear with the target and task at hand.  But they selected you to chart the course of action and execute the plan.  You are in charge of design and delivery.
  • Not Cheap.  Legends know that you can’t nickle-and-dime your way to success.  (…except for Sam Walton, who built a business model on the concept!)  They are not spendthrifts.  They expect a high return on investment.  But they know you have to pay to play and they play to win.
  • High Level of Charm.  They are typically a reporter’s dream.  Full of personality, war stories and sound bites.  They can expound on a variety of topics.  They are interested in you and other achievers.  People are drawn to Legends and love to bask in the glow of their brilliant light.
  • But not a Neutral Personality.  Many feel threatened by the breakthrough bravado of a Legend.  They often have a retinue of detractors — competitors or former colleagues who might be just a bit envious of their decisions and success.  Or maybe someone who got in the way of what they wanted.
  • Warning:  Can be Volatile!  In high stakes business dealings, Legends can be legendarily explosive.  The first outburst can be intimidating.  But stand your ground, defend what you know is right and you will gain their respect.  (Note:  If they expect yes/grovel/yes at every turn, they’re not Legends.)
  • Decisive.  No teeter-tottering here.  They listen to the proposition and move forward to a resolution.
  • But Won’t Be Pressured.  They like to decide on their own terms.  As one client said, “I won’t move on a deal if I’m not ready.  There’s always another one around the corner.”
  • Big Work Ethic.  Legends are highly demanding — of themselves, as well as others.  They will never ask you to work harder than they do.  But be aware they are typically 24/7 operators.
  • Appreciative of Good Work.  Some Legends are short on gushy praise.  If you stay in the inner circle, you know you’re doing the job they expect.  Some will thank you graciously for your time and effort — even though they’re paying for the privilege.  No matter, when you are challenged to the max and delivering top output, it is a confidence-booster to be in service to a Legend.
  • Open Communicator.  They share pertinent information on a real time basis.  When you need input or a decision, they are available in a quick and timely fashion.  No delayed responders here.
  • A-Player Alumni.  Legends are outstanding talent pickers. They surround themselves with strong, savvy people.  If you are fortunate to be one of them, you will have an excellent network of other “kitchen cabinet” habitues for life.  Look at the CEOs and top managers spawned by the Jack Welch talent network at General Electric.
  • Legends are Loyal.  If you are worthy and deliver, you will likely have follow-on opportunities to serve.  You will be part of the overall career ascent.  Or, in the case of serial entrepreneurs, you will be invited to suit up for another start-up.

You have to love the bravado and bravery of these innovators who break the rules, re-write the playbook and often change the way people live and work.

Go find one for yourself! Or become one….

Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene