To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day today, I reread his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s a powerful speech that outlines a compelling future of freedom for all people. King paints a clear picture of that future, especially in the last paragraph of his speech, where he said:
“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ “
King’s speech reminded me that each of us, as leaders, are responsible to paint a picture of a shared, preferred future for those we lead when we ask them to follow in any change effort, big or small.
Here are some questions that might help you paint that picture for others you lead:
- What is the current problem we are facing?
- What are the consequences of that problem?
- What does the desired future look like?
- Why should anyone care and join forces with us to change it?
In King’s speech he does an amazing job of creating a compelling picture of both the need for change and what that might look like. As I reread his speech, I also noticed that he didn’t give people a step-by-step guide or process to achieve that change, but he did encourage and empower others to join in the work of change. That’s a powerful example of great change leadership.