There are only a few speeches in the history of the United States that could be identified as transformational and stand the test of time as monumental benchmarks.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which until I visited the battlefield last summer on vacation I had forgotten how short, concise and powerful our 16th President’s words were.
John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration speech in which he challenged a new generation of American’s to “ask not what your country and can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
And, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Today as we celebrate King’s birthday with a national holiday I think its appropriate to offer a reminder that leaders of organizations large and small should borrow a little of King’s approach and apply it to how they lead.
Not everyone is capable of standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and speak with the skills of a the orator King was.
But, every organizational leader should be able to offer their followers a purposeful vision and be able to articulate it with an authentic passion.
I believe this to be true for small business leaders who only have a handful of employees, to global not-for-profit organizations and everything in between.
Many of the organizational leaders who come to me for help to improve their organization’s results do so to find ways to motivate their people so they are more focused, take more initiative and care in the job they do in exchange for the paycheck they receive.
What I have to remind them is that motivation comes from the inside out and is sparked by inspiration. Whereas motivation must come from the inside, the inspiration can be either internal or externally provided.
It’s the organizational leader who can provide that inspiration, as leaders like King, Lincoln and Kennedy have showed can be done from the largest stages of the world to some of the largest audiences in the world.
From personal experience I can tell you it’s just as easily done from the smallest stages in the world to the smallest audiences in the world. All you need is passion and a purpose for an inspiring vision.
What is yours?
On a side note…when you begin inspiring people with passion and purpose and they do become motivated to contribute, be sure you are not sabotaging that motivation by communicating or allowing others in your organization to communicate with one or more of “The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership Communication.”
Join me this Monday, January 24th at 12pm Eastern time for a free Tele-Seminar (register today here) where I will go in depth on the topic that has been my most popular white paper report.
’til next time, make it a great week!