What Does MLK Mean to You and Work?

Contribution Respect


Key Point: This past Friday, in honor of Martin Luther King Day in the U.S., our 5-year-old grandson and his kindergarten class went on a short freedom march. What a great, early metaphor for understanding the importance of moving forward. It reminded me that we should all be marching towards BETTER, and sometimes we forget that. Often MLK Day passes by and I don’t give it a lot of thought. Many of us see this is a worthy celebration of a very inspirational and impactful man. And most of us associate Dr. King with his courage and influence during the civil rights movement in the U.S. However, if one does a search on MLK’s quotes, and reads a little more about his grace and insight, we are reminded that few historical leaders have ever been able to use the power of words to stop us in our tracks, and in paradox, propel us forward.

As you know I mostly write about leadership and character in the context of work. Today, it is an honor to connect a little of MLK to those themes. (Yes I know, some of you will point to MLK flaws… He wasn’t a perfect human… Neither are you, I or any person… As an example, Mother Teresa was a notorious “sour puss,” but that does not diminish her contribution).

Character Move:

  1. Reflect on the MLK statements below. What do they mean to you personally and people you work with? If we individually and collectively worked with a vision to make things BETTER for OTHERS, came to really know and understand each other, had the courage to do what was right and to speak and listen to each other with grace and understanding, we would accelerate the progress of organizations everywhere. We could all benefit from some MLK inspiration:

 “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.”

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

 “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?”

A little MLK in The Triangle,