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Independent Amendment

Optimize Blog - October 21, 2011 - 0 comments

In the US during the hot and sweltering summer of 1776, members of the second Continental Congress travelled to Philadelphia to discuss their frustration with British rule.
By the 4th of July, America’s founding fathers approved a simple document penned by Jefferson that enumerated their grievances and announced themselves a sovereign nation.  We know this document today as the Declaration of Independence – the founding of a new empire.
It was also totally illegitimate and illegal… or at least that was what lawyers from the UK argued during a debate at Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Hall on Tuesday night.  The event pitted British barristers against American lawyers to determine whether or not the American colonists had legal grounds to declare secession.
While undoubtedly an interesting debate, we drew parallels in business where we often see client organizations debating at length decisions or issues made in the past that are either irrelevant to the focus on key results or where there is no chance to change the decision that has been made or it is an outcome that cannot be influenced or amended.
Spending time debating such issues is fruitless, unproductive and frankly costs money.  It is also too easy to become victim to past decisions and to blame today’s performance on things determined in the past outside of your tenure or sphere of influence.
We like to remind our clients of the act of driving in such circumstances.  There is a reason that the windshield of a car for looking forward is far bigger than that rearview mirror.  While it is important to remember the past, the good leaders are those that can keep it in context, understand the influence on today’s circumstance but maintain perspective.  The past is not always a good predictor of the future.
If you are interested at all, the final debate vote fell in favour of the American argument, perhaps unsurprisingly bearing in mind that the event was held mere yards from where the original Declaration was drafted…

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