Motivate Employees photo from ShutterstockIt was 239 years ago this past week when the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts that is historically recognized as the beginning of the American colonies’ war for independence.

Four hundred forty two days later the Second Continental Congress voted to accept the Declaration of Independence that set forth the reasons justifying the colonies’ separation from British rule and creating a vision for what a self-governing country could be.

At the time the 13 American colonies had disparate interests, if not individually, certainly regionally. Additionally there were many residents across the colonies considered to be staunch loyalists committed to continuing ties to the British throne.

The Declaration of Independence provided a framework around which the patriots committed to separation from Britain could rally around, and could be used to influence and encourage loyalists to join the revolution.

Even though in workplaces the stakes aren’t as serious as becoming a traitor to the motherland, workplaces do have a need for a rallying point for inspiration and motivation that is often lacking in many.

Too many workplaces have management lamenting a lack of motivation and engagement by employees who are seemingly going through the motions.

Many small business leaders struggle trying to create strategies that will motivate their workforces.

Often, their efforts do more harm than good. Often, their efforts come with much more financial cost to the company than they need to.

One simple approach is for the company to create its own Declaration of Independence, which, for business doesn’t need to be, nor should it be, as detailed as America’s original tome.

But, it should be inspirational. It should project an inspiring, compelling future state all employees can rally behind and be something to which they would like to contribute.

For example, one recent client, the owner of a small business looking to grow by 30% this year, simply created a vision he defined as “The Million Dollar Challenge,” seeking to become a company that generates one million dollars in revenue.

Another client, recently named chief information officer, delivered this Declaration of Independence to 36 employees in her division:

We will become a high-performing IT organization that simplifies complex operations and leads the change for the entire city. Our division will be the competitive advantage that allows our city to attract the best people and businesses allowing it to be recognized as the Best Capital City.

Creating your organization’s Declaration of Independence is just the first step.

The next, and most important step, is successfully engaging your team to fulfill its promise. More on that next time.