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CEO Insight- Endings and beginnings an organisational perspective

Olivier Herold

30 September 2020

Legacy and the future – honouring the past and enabling new beginnings

In my last CEO Insights, I was reflecting on what happens at a personal level when we face endings and new starts.  I’d like to invite you to dive deeper into that topic by connecting with the work of Alison Lucas and Lizzie Bentley Bowers. Alison and Lizzie’s work brings a tremendous richness , depth and very practical application to this work. Dive in – you and your organisation will be very glad you did. In this second reflection, I share thoughts on the organisational perspective and what can happen at the meeting point where an organisation’s legacy meets it’s future’.



There’s a strong link for me between ‘what we want to keep because it defines us’ and what we want to let go of. Which parts do we hold on to because it’s ‘who we are?’ What’s the deep sense of vision and purpose that drives what our business is all about? Which parts honestly need to be released, acknowledging the richness they brought and that it’s time for a new and different way ahead?

From the organisational perspective, think about your  legacy, what it has presented and the choices you now have as to how that legacy can serve us or limit us. How shall we build on it? Evolve it? Release it?

How might you want ‘who you have been’ to influence ‘who you’re going to be’? Get a dialogue going between your past and your future and see where you’re inspired to take your organisation from here.


For me, the culture we’ve created over the last 30+ years has helped us travel through numerous endings and beginnings that have reshaped our path, whilst acknowledging the legacy of the organisation and all the people that have contributed over the years.

I’m committed to keeping our values of humanity, performance, relationships and learning intact as we evolve. At the same time, I want us to challenge ourselves to move boldly into our future, move onto new ground, add new and different ways to bring value for our clients and grow our future.


When we feel something is ‘complete’ rather than just ‘finished’, we get a whole new level of energy and are liberated to focus on the future. For me, this means knowing the difference between closing a chapter and closing a book. Sometimes this particular aspect of something is finished and the story is ongoing. Other times, it’s ok to close the whole book. 

Why is this? Our brains are occupied with unfinished business and keep hold of it in play until we sense that it’s ‘complete’. Our intellectual, emotional and practical attention isn’t fully available to us as long as significant amounts of that valuable capital is tied up with unprocessed events and experiences. ‘It’s over’ means something’s brought to an end. ‘It’s complete’ means something’s made whole. From that point, we can move fully into our futures.


What do you want to complete?

What do you need to do about the legacy and the new beginnings in your world? I invite you to take the space and the support to care for both properly.

Honour the legacy, draw from it. Keep only what you need and what you treasure.

Then dare to step away and move onward into your future.