I had dinner with some people that have known each other for decades. It was fascinating to hear their banter about parents, childhood homes, evolving medical issues, multiple jobs, and long-ago events. This rich history not only provided a background but a context for the current stories and happenings in their lives.

I also recently spoke with someone preparing to retire and she commented on the organizational knowledge that will be walking out the door with her. She is currently invited to meetings to share the history or evolution of projects, providing others with an understanding of the lessons learned and the decisions that were made. This background, too, provides a helpful context for moving forward and will be lost when she leaves.

Too often, we undervalue history. Grandparents, elders, long-time employees, or others who have been involved long enough to see something (or someone) at multiple stages of development can provide a perspective that informs and enlightens the present-day circumstances. Looking back may help you move forward.

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