Continuous Improvement and Our Founding Fathers

Posted on July 4, 2012 | in Change Management, Goal Setting | by

Happy Independence Day 2012 everybody! In between bites of our burgers or brats and swigs of beer, let’s also take the time to thank all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms that have been in place (and continuing to evolve) for over 230 years – the soldiers in our armed forces. We have Memorial Day and Veterans Day every year, but don’t forget about the other 363 days of freedom they’ve provided. Thank you to all members of our armed services that have served, are serving, or will serve in the future.


The authoring, signing, and submission of the Declaration of Independence stands as the true moment of birth of our wonderful country – essentially a singular moment that lit the fuse on the proverbial powder keg of world history.

Would you believe the evolution of the original colonies into the great nation we know today is a solid example of continuous improvement and change management? (Or, one might argue, “change in management.”) It is! Here’s how.

The Declaration of Independence is somewhat like a project charter. How so? The plan of action is laid out, the “team members” have all signed off that they are in agreement with the charter’s statements, the items being changed are identified and defined, and it exists as the governing document of what the group intends to do.

Have a plan. Simply dissolving the binding ties between “management” and its subjects can have major ramifications. Being prepared for worst-case scenarios when things don’t go as planned can bring about organization amid some chaos. It’s one thing to simply stop one process, but it’s another to immediately flip the switch to another process. The plan will direct how that transition should flow.

Expect some resistance to change. I’m fairly confident that England was pretty comfortable with their situation on our side of the ocean – cheap labor, taxation at a whim, a “do as I say or else” method of enforcement – so why would they change? What they weren’t counting on was the size of the underground movement from the colonists to overthrow the oppressive governing body. When England saw that their situation was being challenged, they tried to stand their ground.

If change management is applied properly, the results can be great.

Continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination. Our rights and freedoms in 1776 were not the same as those in 1865, or the same as those in 1968. Obviously they are not the same as those we have today. We have grown from 13 colonies into the 50 states (and additional territories). The founding fathers could not account for such future changes and movements in the Declaration of Independence at the time.

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One Response to “Continuous Improvement and Our Founding Fathers”

  1. Pingback: What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Can Teach Us About ImprovementLean Blitz – Do it better.

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