Martin Luther King Jr. Day
If you look at any great company, they know their ‘why’. Apple, Microsoft, Virgin — they all know why they do what they do, and that vision drives what they do and how they do it.
Apple’s Think Different, Microsoft’s ‘a computer on every desk in every home’, and Virgin’s Changing Business for Good.
So why do we do what we do and what inspires our ‘why’?
Every so often, we do something that really makes a difference to people. Probably the most famous event to impact millions of lives, was held at The Lincoln Memorial, where at the culmination of the Walk for Freedom in 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous speech to around 250,000 people.
This was a highly emotionally charged time where, just across the National Mall, the US Congress were debating the Civil Rights Movement led by President Kennedy. A quarter of a million people were crammed into a square mile of space, on a sweltering June day, and all of them wanted to hear Dr King speak.
Can you imagine what might have happened if they couldn’t hear? Suddenly you have a very angry crowd of people.
Fortunately the man in charge of security knew this. He was Bayard Ruskin and he said that the trick to keeping a crowd from becoming something else, was to transform them into an audience. So, he fought to bring in a PA system costing ten times what was normally spent for these events. 16,000 dollars, which today would be close to 120,000.
The system took days to install back then, so imagine the horror when the organisers discovered at 8pm the night before that it had been sabotaged. Not just disabled, but savaged in fact. The company that installed the system were hundreds of miles away — there was no way they could get there and rebuild it in time.
So they called in the Army. And by late morning a team of elite radio engineers were able to put the system back together, circuit by circuit, and get it working again. Never have the words “Testing, one, two, three” been met with such relief!
That story really inspired us in thinking about our ‘why’.
And it is this:
To bring to life thoughts, ideas and dreams,
So that they can be shared with others.
Martin Luther King Jr knew his ‘why’. He had a dream. And by communicating that dream, the world became better and millions of people’s lives were transformed.