Leaders Chart the Course: What We Can Learn About Leadership from The Mayflower

November 11, 1620

Traveling the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean, 102 passengers left Southampton, England headed to a new land inhabited by ?uncivilized? Indians.

Their ship, the Mayflower.
Their settlement, the Plymouth Plantation.
These along with their harrowing voyage would be forever stitched into the fabric of our nation.

leaders chart the course

I visited the Plymouth Plantation last year when I traveled to Boston for a conference (a replica of the original). There I saw several examples of courageous leadership. I would like to share one with you.

Leadership On a Ship

Before landing, the people on the Mayflower drafted and signed a document that would govern their affairs, a document that honors the members of the group and submits everyone equally to the rule of laws ? laws that they would create.

The Mayflower Compact?is now considered one of the most important documents that set the tone of the rule of law for this new nation.

It says,

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620

Leaders Chart the Course

This is a superb example of how in uncertain times leaders chart the course. ?It would have been easier for them not to engage in the intense debate and decision making of the document, just as we so many times brush things under the rug when times get tough.

Are you sailing dangerous waters with your team? ?Is your team crystal clear about what is acceptable behavior??Making expectations clear as to how people should treat one another on your team is of profound importance.

May we lead with courage and wisdom like those who sailed the Mayflower.

Your friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

As Leaders, How Is History Relevant to Us Today?
A Lesson From Gettysburg
Values That Made This Nation Great – A Lesson for All of Us


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  • Jamie Adams
    Posted at 11:26h, 16 October

    I love when I get a combined history lesson and a leadership lesson all in one! 🙂

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 14:50h, 16 October

      Thank you Jamie… I love American history!! so many lessons that are important to our nation and our lives! 🙂

  • Bonnie Weathersby
    Posted at 08:15h, 25 October

    Just taught about the Mayflower Compact. This would he ca great follow up to personalize how we can learn from history and apply it to our current lives.

    • Wes Saade
      Posted at 17:34h, 25 October

      Thanks Bonnie for the comment… I am glad the Mayflower Compact is being taught 🙂 🙂

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