What is important to you and your company? What inalienable truths will you declare and hold yourself and your team accountable to?
The declaration of independence from Great Britain by the United States of America was the defining moment in the nation’s history (quite literally 🙂 ).
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.
These powerful words have driven the success of the US for nearly 250 years. They created a vision for what America and Americans would do, and what America and Americans would be, forever more. Every action that the country takes can be held accountable to this vision. The founders made it clear that Americans would pledge their lives to these words:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The declaration of independence gives Americans a confidence in taking action, in knowing the right actions to take and the right ways to be an American (even if we might disagree with them sometimes).
We don’t have a document like the declaration of independence in Australia.i We don’t have a bill of rights, any clear vision or statement by the people for who we are as a nation. Our constitution puts the English sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II, at the head of state.
Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland…
There are 2 massive problems with these words:
- Less than 50% of Australians believe in God; and
- More than 50% of Australians believe that Australia should be an independent republic.
These words define Australia and yet have little to do with what Australians believe. Australia is a great nation, ‘doing great’ (for my Australian friends, that’s American for doing very well 😉 ), in the midst of a global economic downturn that has left it as arguably the strongest developed economy in the world, but talk to an Australian and they’ll tell you, “the country’s fucked.” (for my American friends, yes, Australians do swear a lot 🙂 ) I believe that Australia’s lack of confidence could, at least in part, be solved by a legal expression of what’s important to Australia, which governs the country’s vision for itself as an independent republic.
So what has all of this got to do with entrepreneurship?
Your mission statement is your declaration of independence. It expresses what’s important to you and your company and provides clear guiding principles for every decision you make, from negotiating the acquisition of your company right down to deciding whether a phone call is important enough for you to interrupt the work you’re currently doing. Taking action quickly, failing fast, learning from your mistakes, and taking the next action, is so important to success in a start up. AND it is SO much easier to make decisions when you’re clear about what’s important to you.
Want some help clarifying your mission? Contact me for a free 30 minute envisioning session via phone or voip. Declare your independence!
I’m off for beers and a barbie – it’s the Australian and American way 🙂 🙂
i The Australia Act of 1986, which extinguishes the UK’s right to be involved in Australian laws, government, and judiciary, is the first legal document that refers to Australia as, “a sovereign, independent and federal nation…”