A Declaration of Independence

“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.”

Called one of the most recognizable sentences in the English language, this passage from the Declaration of Independence is the mission statement for the United States.  It provides both an ideal and an explanation for the founding of a nation.  This sentence was drafted to be the standard against which all subsequent actions of the new nation were taken.

As we celebrate the holiday and perhaps, while the marinade is still being absorbed, take a moment to consider the meaning of those words and the sacrifices that have made them resonate throughout the world, we might consider our personal connection to them.

We hold these truths to be self-evident

There is a challenge in those words – for people and for companies to drill down to their core beliefs and proclaim independence from those practices and conventions that would tamp them down.  What do you stand for?  What are the truths you hold to be self-evident?

For us, they are as follows:

  1. Every person who works here has a responsibility to actively and consciously guide his or her career.
  2. We are only as good as our last case, phone call, or client interaction.
  3. No job or responsibility here is unimportant
  4. It is OK to laugh, as long as you don’t point
  5. Firm events are better if their name is a pun

Those five points, along with several others, are in our Personnel Manual under the heading, repeated now three times in this article: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

In my SmartCEO column for September, 2013, I’ll be talking about this in depth.  For now, however, I wanted to raise the question, on this most American of holidays:  Even as you are celebrating independence, have you, yourself, declared it?

Have a happy and safe 4th of July.

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