Lessons from MLK jr

John Maxwell is a motivational speaker.  I've learned a lot from him over the years.  Like many in this field, I'm not all in on his ideas, but overall it's been helpful.  This article looks a MLK as a strategic person.  Like Ghandhi, these men are often held up as sacred, but we forget they were very shrewed tactitions as well.

Borrowed from John Maxwell's E-Newsletter

3 Things Martin Luther King, Jr. Taught Us About Thinking

Easy answers and half-baked solutions. How often are these really effective? A MacGyver-style fix usually works in the moment, but not forever. And split-second decisions often cause regrets. A little duct tape on this, a quick patch on that and we move ahead to the next project. It's definitely easier to just check off a task instead of giving ourselves the time necessary for planning and solid thinking. 

John C. Maxwell says, successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. And, if you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your feelings, you can change your actions, and ultimately, you can change your life.

As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we reflect on a great man and a great thinker. He was not the kind of man to glaze over the details or take short cuts. He modeled solid, vision-driven thinking and because of that, he created a remarkable legacy. 

As we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., we reflect on three aspects of his skilled thinking that made him a successful leader. And, they are skills you can implement, too. These three methods of skilled thinking can help you discover new ways to consider the challenges and obstacles you face in your own leadership.

1. Strategic Thinking

What is needed is a strategy for change, a tactical program that will bring the Negro into the mainstream of American life as quickly as possible. - MLK

King knew hope wasn't a strategy. Having been denied their rights for the entirety of United States'
history, African-Americans could not expect change by working through the usual political
channels. The quest for racial equality would require radical activism. As King noted, "Freedom is never
voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
Inspired by the Montgomery bus boycott, King conceived a national strategy of widespread noncooperation
to challenge racist institutions.

In your leadership and personal life, you're responsible for doing the homework and planning the strategy for achieving your vision. It's not enough to hope for change or hope you reach your potential. Approaching your leadership with a strategy is the first step to success.

2. Uncommon Thinking

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: For Whites Only. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. - MLK

When King said these words during his "I Have a Dream" speech, he was speaking out against a life-long prejudice that for hundreds of years was a cultural norm in the United States. What he said that day was radical, hard to imagine, and vastly different than any system the American public was familiar with. As a leader, he was courageous enough to share his uncommon, unpopular thinking. And, as a leader today, it's your job to inspire followers with the future and provide motivation day-by-day.

This means that the people in your organization must be able to look toward both the future and the present. They need to know where they’ll eventually be and what to do every day to get there. It’s your job to articulate an inspiring vision for the future and make sure everyone in the organization does the right things in the present to get you there.

 3. Big-Picture Thinking

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. - MLK

To be an inspirational leader, you must adopt an attitude of service toward those you lead. This requires laying aside selfish interests to add value to another person. When you serve, you awaken something magnetic inside of you. People are drawn to follow you because they know you'll find ways to make them better.

Having a vision, strategy and dream for your leadership will be key to the success of your 2016 goals. But, it all starts with solid, skilled thinking. 

Legacy leaders like King show us the way and give us the inspiration to act. But, in order to carry this out in your own leadership, you need a plan.