In the new best seller ‘Leadershift’ the authors Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille describe a concept called the 5 Laws of Decline. As with Laws of Decline there are also Laws that govern periods of restoration and revivals. When a civilization is in the midst of a renaissance it cycles just the same except instead of a decline it follows a period of growth, enlightenment, and prosperity from the awakening of leadership. These movements as well as the declines are evident in the study of growing and declining civilizations throughout history.
Each law can become interchangeable in the cycle of decline for the next law to take place. They can occur in various sequences. For example when a company or government grows beyond its quality (Law of Diminishing Returns) most of those who perform duties would naturally fall below the 10% for excellence to be required (Sturgeons Law). This would also hold that if the company or government performs at sub par levels, then the personnel who hold to higher standards (Gresham's Law) would not want to be part of a program that rewards bad behavior. This trend would also aid the 90% whose performance is substandard. The top performers would exit. These are examples that show the 5 Laws of Decline can become evident with any one of the five influencing the others.
When people look back at this time in history it might be called a period of great corruption. Or it might be called a period when great corruption was replaced with great leadership. Russell Kirk wrote, “If a society is deprived of competition, it is forced to rely either upon altruism (the unselfish efforts of men and woman who work without reward) or upon compulsion (force employed to make people work without reward). You see, when studying history one sees that prior to all great periods of restoration, revivals, reformation, and renaissance there was a period of great corruption. Historians Spengler and Toynbee have a depth of research into the ebb, growth, climax, decline, and death of civilizations and empires. You can study any period of civilization and you will find cycles of restoration. Look back through the Sumerians, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages / Renaissance, American Revolution, Industrial Age, and our current Information Age and you will find that in periods of restoration and growth they have one thing in common, we are always sure when leadership is absent and when it’s present.
I recently read a book titled, ‘Revivals: Their Laws and Leaders’ by James Burns. Burns was born in Scotland in 1865 and wrote the book in 1909. Just like the 5 Laws of Decline, he traced the Laws of Revival. I will paraphrase:
- The Law of Progress: Men and women are spurred by conditions to either reach a higher endeavor or want to be revitalized.
- The Law of Growth: Growth always has an ‘ebb and flow’ or a ‘time and season’.
- The Law of Periodicity: No one knows when the next awakening will take place. A sense of dissatisfaction must precede.
- The Law of Leadership: Change comes from Leadership. The leader is called and equipped for their work.
- The Law of Variety: No one knows where the leader will come from.
- The Law of Recoil: Restorations, revivals, and reformation have a unique length.
- The Law of Doctrine: Leaders of courage are raised when morals depreciate. They stop pretending things are well and face corruption.
Preceding every period of restoration or renaissance was a period of intellectual, emotional, or spiritual deadness. A dull heavy lethargy had set into the culture and a growing discontent was felt throughout society. Courage to change their conditions comes when people see their beliefs as noble and vital. Their hearts become prepared to hear the message. From an intellectual side, the people’s insight becomes luminous. They begin to see how the change can be obtained. They develop the conditions where they have the materials for the task. When one man or woman becomes alive or a number of men and women become alive, others pay attention to them. A contagious atmosphere occurs.
Changes occur and conditions begin to develop during periods of economic change like the change that took place from the agrarian age to the industrial age or from the industrial age to the information age. There can be a national movement that occurs from extraordinary intellectual awakening. Similarly an intellectual awareness took place during the renaissance when the kings and territorial princes were able to exploit the new money economy in order to build up their government bureaucracies and military forces. A restoration took place when the peasants revolted with new ideas that propelled them to action. They had a rising level of expectation on HOW they they were to live. This happened from learning new information that spread through art and poetry. Then, came a new born sense of freedom.
Leadership movements have created restorations and revivals when there was an awakening of virtue. C.S. Lewis wrote in 'Mere Christianity': "If you read history you will find the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next." "It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this." Just who is destined for leadership? It’s when one becomes conscious of their mission and become ready for service. Leaders are not born, they are developed, and in just about all cases came entirely from among the people. This is why some of the greatest developments will be an outpouring from a Leadership development group. People can become ethically complacent and content with their faults and not try to improve anymore but this is not the case with leaders. Socrates was to have said, “The greatest fault was to be conscious of none.” That statement might describe the reason for the 5 Laws of Decline. Maybe the corruption we see is a result of an unconscious society. LIFE Leadership can influence that. Commit to becoming an instrument to making a difference and you will become part of a leadership revival. God Bless, George Guzzardo