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Five Strategies for Making a Positive Change: The Dr. King Way

leadership Jan 20, 2020

On this day we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and I wanted to share my reflections with you on how to create a positive change in your organization, community, home and life...the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. way.

Listen to the archived lesson by clicking below.

My notes for each of the five strategies: 

On this day, as we celebrate the life of Dr. MLK – his quote the desire for lifelong learning fosters an equally strong tendency to listen. 

Strategy #1: Listen: Lead by being lead: Listen to the needs of the people – only those who do not seek power, are lucky enough to hold it. To be a life long learner, it takes listening.

  • Four benefits to listening
    • Builds trust
    • Enables learning – when we talk – no learning
    • Facilitate understanding
    • Creates a connection – listen and then lead
  • Constantly learning from experience so he could do better the next time 
  • Do better and be better – 
  • As a leader, growth never stops – when you know it all – you 
    • 4 L’s of a leader
      • Loving
      • Listening
      • Learning
      • Qualifies you Leading

Dr. King shared, I neither started the protest nor suggested it. I simply responded to the call of the people for a spokesman. LISTEN to your people – you ARE Their Spokesperson!!!

Strategy #2: Communicate: Connect with others

  • Great connecting lines in speeches in every century
    • Patrick Henry (1700's): Give me liberty or give me death. 
    • Abraham Lincoln (1800's): Four score and seven years ago.
    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1900's): I have a dream. 
  • Great leaders connect by communicating a vision
    • 5 Major reasons for a leader to master the art of public speaking
      • Articulate and Intensify the values and beliefs of the organization
      • Educate, persuade and sell people on new ideas
      • Ensure members of the organization the actions the leader is taking
      • Build support and enthusiasm
      • Inspire people to take action – this is the bottom line

JOIN A SPEAKERS CLUB: LIKE TOASTMASTERS, Record yourself and get feedback. 

Although we communicate every day, most of us never connect because we communicate based on how we listen best!

  • The Key’s to Dr. King’s Speeches:
    • Spoke in the simple and common language – easy to understand – cookies on the lower shelf.
    • Shared stories of sacrifice and courage by the people
    • Used symbols and imagery – David of Trust, Goliath of justice
    • Told personal stories of people in the movement
      • What’s the story of your school?
    • Metaphors – certain kind of water that no fire could put out
    • Cut to the people’s heart
    • Repeat words until they become routine
      • Speech is sound and vision
    • Articulate the voice of the how the people feel – words to feeling and pictures to what they sense and wanted to see
      • HOW Can WE better prepare?

Dr. King was a master of human senses – he understood that through speech combined sound and vision – and is an effective method to communicating to large masses.

Strategy #3: Persuade: move others to action

  • Life of a leader is consumed with activity
  • Reliable and tirelessly persistent – results oriented – make a little progress each day
    • How KING motivated people to act
    • King - Placed events in context – doing so creates an understanding of WHY the movement is important – this allows the individual to decide when the vision meant to them personally. 
    • Appealed to the ethics and the morality of people – people either have morals or they don’t – the WHY brings this out
    • Learn to work together or we will perish as fools
    • Shared facts and advocated specific initiatives…leaders identify the reality of the situation.
    • Clearly point to the problem and give multiple solutions
    • Provided continual encouragement and set a strong example – be the filter
      • No lie can live forever

Only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it.

Strategy #4: Consolidate – form alliances with others

  • In isolation a minority group cannot achieve greatness – major transformation
  • 10% cannot induce 90% to change through TENSION alone. 
  • Regularly articulate the advantages – to build an alliance
    • Asking for commitments
      • Birmingham pledge – nonviolent movement – 
      • What is your school pledge?
    • By planning and goal setting (by MLK)
      • A wise leader plans before taking action – ready aim fire not ready fire aim
      • Goals and a detailed plan facilitate the process of change
      • Plans must be set in place to counteract the opposition
      • Detailed plan is used to channel the masses and keep them moving in the same direction – it’s the chart the compass
      • Goals unify people – one objection
      • Goals motivate people – 
      • Goals stimulate action – what gets measured, gets done. A growing excitement to reach the goals.
      • Coming together creates energy, enthusiasm and courage
      • Social change best achieved in groups
      • Alliances expand contacts and network
      • Alliances allow more results to be achieved

Strategy #5: Touch – walk slowly through the crowd – walk arounds…walk throughs

    • G.Washington spent every moment in the field
    • Lincoln toured the capital and visited troops
    • FDR -  brought others to the White House – sending Elenor to – Fireside chats
    • Truman – Evening walks 
      • Obtain key info
      • Keep people informed
      • Obtain feedback
      • Facilitate learning
      • Understand what people think and feel

I will finish with this quote by Dr. King: “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


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