Heritage Management

Leveraging the Past

Regardless of size or structure, an organization’s past plays a critical role in its future.

“There’s great value in knowing where you came from,” says Dan Wyant, vice president of the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Mich. “Understanding your organization’s history, traditions and values helps you build upon previous successes — and avoid repeating mistakes.”

In addition, an appreciation of heritage can:

  • Ensure the founder’s intent is remembered correctly.
  • Build pride with current employees.
  • Enhance recruiting efforts.
  • Refine your organization’s current identity and strengthen branding efforts.
  • Enrich decision-making.

 

The Edward Lowe Foundation’s heritage revolves around entrepreneurship and land stewardship. Ed Lowe, who forged a new industry with cat-box-filler products, believed that entrepreneurship was vital to a robust U.S. economy. He and his wife, Darlene, launched the Edward Lowe Foundation in 1985 to provide resources for entrepreneurs — and raise awareness of entrepreneurs’ contributions to society.

“Ed also had a great love and respect for the land and developed a unique place that he wanted to share with others,” Wyant says, referring to Big Rock Valley, the foundation’s 2,600-acre property in southwest Michigan. The foundation uses Big Rock Valley to host leader retreats and other entrepreneur programs. It also conducts land-management practices to promote biodiversity and makes the property available to researchers.

The foundation preserves its heritage through a variety of tools and resources, including websites, multimedia productions, exhibits and publications — and, perhaps most important, its archival collection.

Related Articles...
How Do You Manage Corporate Culture When the Dynamics Change?

CEOs share their trials, tribulations, successes and lessons learned.

Read More ...
Do the Right Thing

Digital Library > Building and Inspiring an Organization > Ethics “Do the Right Thing” With business moving at a rapid pace, ethical dilemmas will arise at a faster rate — ranging from the able-bodied trying to get a handicapped sticker for easy parking to insider trading. At a recent ethics seminar for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Marsha Egan, a

Read More ...
Can Art.com Founder Really Have It All After the Sale?

The decision to sell your fast-growing company is a difficult one. Ask Bill Lederer, founder and CEO of Art.com in Lake Forest, Ill., which provides art and framing services on the Internet.

Read More ...
The Enemy Within: Protecting Your Assets from Your Partners

Few entrepreneurs plan to fight with their business partners. But disputes among partners are all too common, bitter, and costly — particularly when one partner wants to sell out but can’t find a buyer. Fortunately, you can often head off difficulties with your partners before they escalate to the point of no return and double legal fees (a.k.a. litigation).

Read More ...