I am proud to be an American. And I’m never prouder than on this day – Constitution Day. 223 years ago today a group of American citizens ratified our Constitution. I am not a historian, and it has been awhile since have studied the process that lead to the creation of the U.S. Constitution (Here is one place to find lots of background and data .)
I write this today less as a pure history lesson than as a leadership lesson.
This document has guided the development of the greatest country in the history of the world for 223 years. It has been the unifying theme that kept a country together after major strife. It is build on foundational principles that havent changed, yet was wisely created to allow a process of flexibility. Though amendments have been added, the principles remain.
Would the United States exist, or exist in a form anywhere near it’s current configuration and prominence without the Constitution? It is hard to fathom that it would.
As a leader have you created your constitution? Have you clarified through thought and writing you most closely held principles and beliefs? Are your vision, mission and values clear to you? Are they clear to those on your team and in your organization?
Yes, you have all heard of the value of these tools, but they are more than tools. They are at the center of the development of a great leader, of great organizations, and great nations.
I’m not just talking to CEO’s (though if you are one, I hope you take action as required) now – I am talking to all leaders.
I’m talking to you.
Yes, the mission, vision and values of your organization may (or may not) exist. You can still create them for your department, team, and yourself.
You have control over it that decision – and the critical question is – are you willing to get really clear about what is important?
If you are willing to, your next step is to do it.
It isn’t an urgent task – it took our country’s leadership 11 years after declaring Independence to get it written – but it is perhaps the single most important task you face.
Don’t wait eleven years, or eleven months. Eleven days should be enough to get at least a draft written.
It is too important to wait.
Your future success and legacy are at stake. Who knows what you might create and how much you and your team might change the world.