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The Constitution: A Model for Your Organization

constitution Today in the United States, we’re inaugurating Barack Obama as our 44th President today. It’s both a celebration and an orderly transfer of power.

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marylynn
I can hear “Hail to the Chief” being played. I just love that song!

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georgeI got inaugurated once. I was on the speech team in Junior High School. I’m dating myself here, but I played Gerald Ford taking the oath. So I tripped … I mean stepped … up to the microphone, held up my right hand, and said, “I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

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Yes, all Presidents solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution. We hadn’t thought about this for some time, but we started discussing the purpose of a Constitution.

The United States Constitution itself tells us. It begins with the famous line “We the People of the United States” and then goes into the reasons for the document:

“in Order to form a more perfect Union”
At least we know that the Founding Fathers were realists – they didn’t expect a “perfect” union! They just felt the Constitution would help make things better.

“establish Justice”
It was important to establish laws so that every man and woman was treated the same. 

“ensure domestic Tranquility”
The Constitution allows for peaceful disagreement and debate.

“provide for the common defence”
It was important to determine how the safety of the citizenry would be insured.

“promote the general Welfare”
But it goes beyond safety. The Constitution also maps out how to make things better for the people of the country.

“secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”
This document should insure the freedom of its citizens now and in the future.

Now think about that list. These are the reasons why the Founding Fathers felt it was important to have a Constitution.

But this isn’t a civics lesson. Which is good because we sure wouldn’t be qualified to talk about it! But it made us think …

Aren’t those good reasons for us to have a Constitution in our organizations?

A framework for growth

As small business owners, we often run from structure. We are rebels at heart. We like to break the rules. These characteristics are part of what lead to the success of many small business owners. However, this lack of structure is also what keeps many of their businesses really small.

So does your organization need a Constitution? If you want to establish a framework to grow your business and insure that all people in your organization get treated fairly, then YES!

The Constitution as a model

To find out how to establish a framework for your organization, look at the Constitution.

Set down governing principles.
This list of principles expresses the Core Values of the organization. All decisions should be congruent with these principles.

Establish a structure. How is it organized? This helps us see the bigg picture. Think about your Mission.

Define procedures. How is it run? How do we do things around here? It doesn’t set the ceiling for idealistic behavior, but it does establish a floor. What is the minimum acceptable behavior? Think of this as your Operations Manual.

Describe duties. What are the obligations of the people involved? Think Job Descriptions.

Delineates powers.  What are the boundaries within which the people involved must operate? What resources are available to help them do their jobs? Does this sound like an Employee Handbook?

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without our Constitution? While none of us would say everything runs perfectly, they certainly run more smoothly because of our system of government. Using the Constitution as a model for your organization is a great way to form a more perfect union …

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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Join us next as we begin a three-part series on heroes. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Two Proven Keys to Happiness

happyThere’s a rising call for developed countries to track happiness, rather than just income and wealth. Economists say that the goal of a “rational actor” is to maximize his or her “utility” – their fancy term for happiness – over the course of his or her life. Perhaps governments are trying to catch up with the economists!

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Leicester University in England has tracked happiness for the past 30 years. Consistently, Denmark – not Disneyland – has topped their list as the happiest place on earth.

We wondered why … why are the people in Denmark so darn happy?

Is it the weather?

Average temperatures in Copenhagen are about 68 degrees in the summer and around zero in the winter. We don’t know about you, but that’s not our idea of great weather!

Is it the taxes?

Like her sister Scandinavian countries, Denmark has some of the highest taxes in the world. Now, granted those taxes are matched with some of the highest benefits for any citizenry.

Is it their lifestyle or their habits?

Danes are some the heaviest drinkers and smokers in the world?

Is it their diet?

One of the staples of the Danish diet is herring – this is a country that eats a lot of herring!

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marylynnSo it can’t be the diet, because … maybe it’s just my personal taste, but ick!

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georgeNow there a lot of theories about what makes the Danes so happy. One of my theories is that they drink so much, they don’t remember whether they’re happy or not!

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Seriously, theories are fine, but we thought we should look at what the research shows is driving this happiness.

Professor Kaare Christensen at the University of Southern Denmark found that Danes have low expectations. Because of this culture of expecting less, the people are happy when good things happen.

This made us think of something Tony Robbins said – if you’re not happy, you have a choice. You can either change your conditions or your expectations. But what if you don’t want to change your expectations?

Tal Ben-Shahar, who teaches the most popular class at Harvard University, found that the single most significant predictor of happiness is close relationships with friends and family. We found it interesting that 92 percent of Danes belong to some sort of social club.

Maybe that’s why social media has become so bigg! What do you think?

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Sources

University of Leicester Produces the first ever World Map of Happiness

Why Danes are smug: comparative study of life satisfaction in the European Union

Denmark: The Happiest Place on Earth

Denmark ‘happiest place on earth’

The REAL Happiest Place on Earth

And The Happiest Place On Earth Is…

(Image by nookiez)