Historians agree that the most compelling English-language vision speech of the 20th century occurred more than fifty years ago in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, inspired America and the world by telling them about his dream. In addition to the lessons of love and equality that Dr. King gifted us, he also models powerful shared-vision communication skills.
Among so many reasons the speech was so compelling is that it excelled at modeling the five elements of Kouzes and Posner’s definition of a shared vision:
A shared vision is an ideal and unique image of the future for the common good.
JIM KOUZES & BARRY POSNER
The Leadership Challenge
The Five Elements
I Have a Dream
Dr. King did not deliver the “I Have a Strategic Plan” speech. He did not orate that “I Have a Metric Dashboard.”
No. He delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Exemplary and great leaders lead with meaning and purpose. They lead with vision.
While metrics, business plans, and strategic plans all have their rightful places, they are rarely all that inspiring, particularly to front-line employees. Any particular metric is simply one way of measuring if we are actualizing or achieving our mission, purpose, vision, or strategy.
You are the leader. People look to you for inspiration, motivation, guidance, empowerment, recognition, vision and whether you can be a role model or not. In other words, they are asking, “Do you talk the talk?” and “Do you walk the talk?”
Meaning and purpose starts with you.
What is your compelling vision of the future for those you serve and lead?
For inspiration, watch the last five and a half minutes of Dr. Martin Luther King’s
“I Have a Dream” speech below or on YouTube. It leaves me with chills and a tear every time.
Have an amazing journey today!
Alan Mikolaj is a coach and leadership development consultant with 15+ years of experience. He is passionate about helping leaders transform their leadership, their teams, and their organizations. Impactful, professional approach driven by a passion for meaning and purpose, a growth mindset, and a commitment to excellence and service in order to drive change and results.
Alan maintains the ethics and standards of behavior established by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), including the standards regarding confidentiality. You can learn more about them on the ICF website.
Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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