Ruth Lund, as president of the LEGACY Center, has a good sense of how to make good businesses better by improving their culture.
And, as a member of the Cooperative Venture Workspace, she knows how a professional meeting space in downtown Portsmouth, N.H., makes her own business culture better.
The LEGACY Center is a consulting business that helps chief executive officers and their leadership teams build and improve their organizational cultures. It’s as much about the “how” – the values, beliefs, and behaviors of a business as attitude and core values of a business — as it is about business strategy.
“The CEO who is most interested in us typically has these three things in common: a like-minded CEO, meaning they’ve been working to create a business that reflects a healthy culture, small to mid-sized, and in a period of change. That could mean growth, leadership changes, merger and acquisitions, or developing remote locations. We help them improve, grow, and protect their culture as they navigate new and sometimes more challenging waters.” she said.
Among her clients, she’s currently seeing a need to help them in transition. She cites the example of a CEO who is retiring and wants to make sure the culture of excellence is passed on to the next leadership team. She also notes that with a merger/acquisition, how to retain the level of cultural excellence is an important one. “How do we make sure their culture doesn’t get washed away,” she said.
The LEGACY Center as a consultancy grew out of the LEGACY Holding Co, that, among its other businesses, included the LEGACY Supply Chain Services and LEGACY Global Sports, all located in Portsmouth.
LEGACY CEO Ron Cain built the businesses on core values that weren’t just slogans on a wall, according to Lund. He and his executives worked hard to create a top-to-bottom commitment to purpose of higher levels of effectiveness through the establishment of clear values and behaviors that resulted in a strong, healthy culture.
The LEGACY Center was spun out to, in essence, said Ruth, “share what we have learned” as an offering to other businesses of how they could enhance their cultures, too. “It’s a direct way to fulfill our mission: ‘Impact Lives and Develop Leaders’ outside the walls of LEGACY,” she said.
Ruth was the supply chain company’s vice president of organization development from December 2012 to the point in January 2015 that LEGACY Center was spun off as a separate enterprise and she became its president.
She said her job “includes developing growth strategies, new service offerings, and day-to-day operations.”
The LEGACY-related businesses were located in the Martingale Wharf building on Bow Street in Portsmouth. Cain sold the supply chain business, where Ruth’s office was originally located. The Global Sports building moved earlier this year to new, larger quarters on Heritage Drive in Portsmouth.
With the changes came the need to find a new home for the LEGACY Center. Lund has a home office and her team of consultants — two in New England, one in Denver, Colo. — also work remotely.
But she needed professional space for the occasional client meeting and for team development and planning meetings. The flexibility of the membership options and the office space itself were an attraction for Ruth.
“For those purposes it’s a great spot. I don’t need a full time office right now, but this meeting space is perfect for us.,” said Ruth, having just finished a meeting in one of the Workspace’s four conference rooms. “This is a great setting. There’s a great energy here.”
The LEGACY Center’s work is with U.S.-based companies and one multi-national business. Its clients are private companies as well as public sector entities. She made note in particular of the center’s work with the Canton, Ohio, city school district.
Although the school district is not a business, it is an organization working to achieve a critical outcome: educating the next generation. The tools the Center applies to a business to help it develop its culture are the same tools it uses to help a school system –or any kind of organization. “It translates: no matter what they’re doing, we are helping people to work with people at a more optimal level,” said Ruth.