In Philadelphia, a Mrs. Powel asked Dr. Franklin, “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarch? “A republic,” replied the Doctor, “if you can keep it.” – Recorded by James McHenry, one of Washington’s aides.
In honor of America’s Independence Day, I offer this short story with Benjamin Franklin quote.
I love the line, “A republic, if you can keep it,” because it reminds me, even on the smallest scale that organizations are only as strong as those people willing to perpetuate the behaviors that made them strong. You may call something a republic or call an organizational culture “empowering,” but the label is only as true as the behaviors of the people in the organization.
Too often we foolishly believe, as we attempt to implement change, that setting up the system is equivalent to sustaining it. In reality, sustaining the system is much harder than the design. We must strive to keep it, or it will disappear.
I challenge you this week to strive to keep the organization, implementation, or republic you value. Without your striving you will lose it.
Why not try?