The Leader’s Backlist

A few months ago Seth Godin wrote a great post on “Building your backlist.” A backlist, Seth says, is what publishers call the stuff that was published a while back but is still selling. Authors and musicians have long had a backlist, yet as Seth points out, today we all do, thanks to the Internet. Our presentations, our articles, our comments, our shares, and really all our social media activities all have a very, very long shelf life.

This concept made me think about our backlist as leaders. The decisions we made, the way we treated people, the promises we did and didn’t keep, what we said on Facebook, the emails we sent praising, criticizing, or complaining – all these things make up our backlist. They might be in the past, but we do have to live with them forever. They may never surface on the Internet, but they will live on in the hearts and minds of the people we influence.

What’s that saying? “People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” So true when it comes to leadership.

Everything you do and say contributes to your backlist. Lead today in a way that builds a backlist you will be proud of tomorrow.


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