I rode on an airplane last week and sat next to the head of IT for Intel. He had just taught a class on leadership and was flying to another conference. He was in seat 7A and I was in 7C and as the Lord would have it – no 7B. So we talked leadership.
One of the best things he taught me in our short time together was that leaders communicate clear vision. Vision that is VISUAL, vision that is CAUGHT BY ALL, vision that can be handed off to others.
The example he gave was Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. He said that this is one of the best strategic visions ever communicated, as it was visual, it was easy to understand, and it was all packaged up into one phrase, “I have a dream.” (Excerpt Below from Speech text.)
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
I was moved by these concepts he taught. I thought about my Regional Strategic Plan and realized that it is not easily “rolled out” into a phrase. This is something I want to think about for this year.
Think about what you lead. Think about vision. Think about what people would say regarding what the key visions your organization is striving for this year.
Have a great day!