Still A Lot To Learn From Martin Luther King Jr.

MLKWhether or not you celebrate MLK Day (it’s a Temkin Group holiday), today is a great opportunity to reflect on some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring messages. I find that his words of change, personal accountability, and love hold true across many settings, including how we run our organizations.

This year, I’ve decided to highlight (without any additional commentary) one of his quotes that fits well in The Year of Emotion:

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Here’s what I’ve written about MLK in the past:

Last year, I shared four of his quotes that I find to be particularly meaningful:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

The time is always right to do what is right.

In 2014, I shared some of his quotes that discuss empathy with a connection to our four customer experience core competencies and added a question to think about after each quote:

  • Purposeful Leadership: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” How willing are your leaders to trade-off short-term results for longer gains in customer experience and loyalty?
  • Compelling Brand Values: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” Is your brand clear, strong and well understood enough by employees so that it empowers them to do the right thing, even if it means breaking some rules.
  • Employee Engagement: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Are you focused enough on making sure that employees understand and are committed to the goals and direction of your organization?
  • Customer Connectedness: “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” Are you treating important customers well enough so that they are more than just satisfied, and become raving fans?

In 2013, I honored the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from August 28, 1963, by sharing a word cloud from the speech.

Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 11.53.18 AM

The bottom line: We can all learn from MLK.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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