The American Revolution began in April 1775 at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The colonists’ original intention was not to demand independence from the British, but to air grievances against the British crown and demand protection for their rights as subjects of the British crown. In the spring of 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft a provisional declaration of independence for use should the associated proposal pass. Thomas Jefferson wrote the document with edits from John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, 242 years ago. In addition to the little history lesson/refresher provided above, there are many lessons from the founding fathers that we can use as entrepreneurs, executives and other hard working Americans at our places of business and agencies.
Have clearly stated goals
As the name states, the Declaration of Independence called for a new government and that “We therefore…solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, a free and Independent State.” Whenever one is starting a business or project, it is critical to have a purpose and goal. It’s similar to having a map or GPS, the first step is to know where you want to go and the map or app will show you how to get there.
Take a risk
The founding fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence risked being charged with treason and jailed or killed for declaring independence from the British, yet they signed. They may have been scared, but that did not stop them from moving forward, which is a great lesson for the business world. They sacrificed time way from family and businesses to work for the cause. You need to have courage of your conviction and be fully committed to the task at hand.
Be a good writer
Those clearly stated goals must be shared with others in a well-articulated statement. The Declaration of Independence was very eloquent in its language. In present day, writing skills are declining and businesses spend much time and money on training employees on how to write properly. Being a good writer can mean the difference between persuading management and investors on the merits of a project and time wasted on clarifications.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
The colonists needed to work together to win the war, which was a large obstacle, or the Declaration of Independence would have been meaningless. They also understood the need for teamwork and each person contributing based on his best skills. Jefferson had the intellect and writing skills needed for the Declaration of Independence; Adams had the political savvy needed to persuade delegates in the Continental Congress to vote for independence, and Franklin was able to convince the French government to provide monetary and military support.
Make some fireworks
What would an Independence Day celebration be without fireworks? John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 2, 1776 the day the resolution was approved that “it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” On July 4, 1777, fireworks were set off in Philadelphia and Boston to mark the date and to boost morale during the Revolutionary War. Fireworks have come to be a sign of celebration and Independence Day is also marked by readings of the Declaration of Independence, picnics, and parades. Whether it is the birth of a nation, a client win, or an account success, it is important to recognize achievement and the hard work of the individuals and teams within your organization. It is not a good idea to set off fireworks in the office, but shout-outs on social media, gift cards and monetary bonuses are good options.
Let’s remember and be guided by our founding fathers who led a fledgling country to what was thought to be impossible victory. Happy birthday, USA.