5 Lessons In Leadership From Martin Luther King – 50 Years On!


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It’s 50 years ago this week that Martin Luther King made THAT speech in Washington DC. On August 28th 1963, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial before an estimated 250,000 people of all races, he proclaimed “I Have A Dream”.

It was a speech that created an amazing buzz and news of it spread around the world (and that was before emails, social media and 24 hour news TV!). It also made a real impact on America and the world, and although clearly there is still some way to go, it’s fair to say that, key elements of his ‘Dream’ have been made a reality – the fact that we have a black President honouring him on Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial highlights this.

In my presentations on leadership I often use the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech as a great example of ‘Getting That Vision Thing’ which is a fundamental characteristic of 3D businesses and their leaders. Winning leaders create a vision that ‘stimulates, excites and motivates’ people. As I point out in my presentations, Martin Luther King did not stand up and say ‘I have a strategic business plan and a cash flow forecast’! There were no ‘pie charts’ ort powerpoint presentations either! He painted a picture of the future and crucially got people to ‘buy in’ to that picture.

50 years on, it seems like a good time to highlight 5 more MLK ‘jewels’ that provide great ‘lessons in leadership’:

1. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus”

This reinforces that a prime role of any leader is having established your ‘vision’, you must do everything you can to get your people ‘on board’.

2. “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better”

Identify and ‘tap into’ your creative people who can help you achieve your ‘vision’!

3. “All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem”

It’s going to be a long journey and be prepared for issues, challenges and problems

4. “We must use time creatively”

This is all about thinking and working ‘strategically’ to identify and overcome problems and issues – it’s ok to create time to ‘think’ – in fact it’s crucial!

5. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”

Ultimately, it’s about taking action and doing stuff! You might not have a detailed plan as to how you’re going to achieve your vision, but you should be prepared to ‘take that step’ and move forward!

So, how do you measure up? Do you have that ‘vision thing’? Are you moving towards it? Here’s one final quote from the great man……

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

If you’ve never heard THAT speech, or you want to hear it again, here it is….

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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