By Kevin Eikenberry

On August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. On that day, he shared his dream with the world, and it is a moment in time that will live on forever.

Today I ask you, as a leader, “What is your dream?”

Before you start backtracking or shaking your head or feeling inadequate, read on. You may not have a dream as expansive or global as Dr. King. Your dream may be smaller, local and less earth-shaking. That is irrelevant.

Having a dream, whether we call it that or not, is at the heart of organizational leadership. You might call it objectives, goals, a mission or vision. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It matters a lot if you have it.

As leaders we must be moving people or organizations towards a desired future, or we aren’t leading at all.

What’s your dream?

Dr. King’s speech is memorable for more than the dream or ideas themselves but also because of his leadership communication approach. His words were eloquent and well chosen; the speech well crafted. His message shared more than the dream, but also the benefits that would come from achieving the dream.

While there is much we can learn about leadership influence from the speech itself, my lesson for you today is to encourage you to clarify, define, crystallize and describe your dream to those you are leading.

What’s your dream?

Once the picture and the reasons why it matters become clear to the people who follow you (or to the ones who are struggling to follow you), you are on the way to making a real difference. You will be leading.

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