Keystones - A Lesson from Dr. King & Civil Rights Leaders

As we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and the principles freedom, equality and empowerment, we shouldn't overlook the leadership lessons he and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement have left us. One of which is to focus on keystones.

Dr. King was tenacious in his pursuit of equal voting rights. He and his partners in the Movement recognized the importance of what so many of us take for granted today - the ripple effect resulting from having the right to vote.

  1. Municipalities build juries from the rolls of registered voters, and they, in turn, are eligible to serve on juries.

  2. Juries decide who receives justice -- including in cases involving elected officials.

  3. Only registered voters choose elected officials.

And the key to that whole series of connected facts was possessing the right to vote. This was critical to realizing social justice and human rights for African Americans.

Myriad distractions can lead us off track away from our goals, endangering our ventures. Leaders must navigate this minefield to identify the factors for success with a keystone impact that will influence major milestones. In planning to achieve your vision, consider:

  • What goal, above all others, will lead to what you've envisioned?

  • Where is the ripple effect? Which factors most impact other factors?

  • What must you achieve to realize the biggest payoff for your venture?

Pursue the keystones and you will remain focused on the most important priorities, as well as best positioned to see and leverage opportunities.