As we head toward Independence Day here in the U.S., I usually do something that I’d encourage you all to do as well. I read The Declaration Of Independence. Why you might wonder, would I read the same document that I must have read at least 50 times? Because like almost everything, context is almost as important as content and since the context seems to change constantly, how I’m reading the document does as well.
You probably know some of the “big” parts:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
What you probably haven’t read lately (maybe ever!) is the laundry list of “Facts” the colonists were accusing the King of imposing. They run the gamut from messing with the legislature and the legislative process to obstructing immigration to using the military to keep the populace in check. There are limits in trade and imposition of taxes, and of course, “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” It’s quite a list and if you haven’t read it, you can here.
I raise this for a couple of reasons. First, you will see some current issues on the list. 242 years later we’re still arguing about things such as immigration, taxes, trade policies and other things on the list. Second, you might ask yourself what your customers, partners, vendors, and employees might say if they were asked to construct a similar list about you and your business. I think before they declare independence from you, they probably do just that even if they don’t write them down and publish them.
As we celebrate the birth of our country, we might also think about how that birth came about. That same process might result in affecting your business since I believe one message of the Declaration is that leaders need to listen. Are you?