What made Martin Luther King an extraordinary leader?

Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King
Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King
Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King

On the 85th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Fast Company looks behind the legend to the man, to highlight four attributes that profoundly contributed to his effectiveness as a transformative leader. MLK was extremely intentional about everything he did and said. In order to be effective in our intentionality – we must commit ourselves to constant self examination so that we can choose the best path as a leader.

1) Emotional Agility
Being aware enough of your emotions, and then choosing a response rather than reacting. What level of emotional agility do you possess – especially with the emotions of anger, confusion or fear? We will write on this more here at Courageous Thinking

2) Systems Thinking
We often focus too much on winning the battle, and lose sight of the war. No one thing creates sustainable change. It must occur within a system. What is the change we want to make? What is the larger system we need to effect, and work in, in order to make that change?

3) Occupy DC
To change a system, it takes a combination of critical mass and changing policy. MLK knew that DC was the platform he needed in order to cast his ‘Dream’. What platform do you need in order to create the change you are committed to?

4) Humor
It is scientifically proven that laughter creates positive physiological effects in addition to relational healing and fostering increased creative thinking. Where can you add appropriate humor to a situation?

Leadership does not require us to rise above our humanity, but to be aware of who we are, and to CHOOSE the best path to create healing and wholeness. Whether our change objective is within the spheres of civic, corporate, mission or social success – we must be intimately aware of who we are, and choose our response and strategy.

A brief view of North Korea

Blaine Harden / Escape from Camp 14

In November 2011 I went on a tour of the DMZ – the 4 mile wide demilitarized zone which divides North and South Korea.  This is the most heavily fortified border in the world.  It was a surreal and powerful experience to be so close to this repressive regime.

Freedom Bridge
Freedom Bridge
Left foot in S. Korea, Right foot in N. Korea
Left foot in S. Korea, Right foot in N. Korea
And this past Monday I had a tremendous opportunity to eat and dialogue with Blaine Harden  – author of the highly acclaimed book ‘Escape from Camp 14’.  This book is about Shin Dong-hyuk, believed to be the only person who was born in the brutal Camp 14 gulag – to escape and tell his story.
An important and necessary read. Blaine Harden does an amazing job taking a very complicated brutal story and making it understandably and digestible to the masses. He also provides key resources and background data for people that want to learn more.
Blaine Harden / Escape from Camp 14
Blaine Harden / Escape from Camp 14
There truly are few things in existence as brutal and horrific as the gulag / camp system of nK. Modeled after Stalin’s prison camps in Russia – the 3 generations of ‘Great Leaders’ in nK have taken the oppression of people to a new level. With the guiding principle that ‘three generations must pay for the sins against the country’ – entire families are imprisioned for generations.
How can we be this brutal to one another?

Introducing Rising Tide Leadership Institute

Risign Tide Leadership website

Look at what we’ve been working on!

It was a year ago that Courageous Thinking created a blog to Spotlight Katie Pettibone. Katie was in the Middle East coaching young Omani women to sail and then race in the grueling 1200 mile Sailing Arabia the Tour. Young women who had never been in a gym learned to compete against men in offshore sailing.  These young women’s lives were changed, they discovered greater potential for who they could be and they became leaders and role models for thousands of other young women. Katie and I knew we had to do something more to create opportunities through sports for women to develop into their full potential. We know that when women are elevated, the whole world wins.

So, we’ve spent the last year creating Rising Tide Leadership Institute.

RTLI website

At RTLI we believe that there is a direct correlation between the skill development required to successfully compete in high-technology sports and the skill development needed to lead and succeed in the global economy. We have built a unique global model for inspiring and equipping women leaders to compete in the global economy. Katie just landed in Kuwait to rejoin Dee Caffari and the young Omani women to continue their journey.  The Oman Sail women’s team will be competing in the Sailing Arabia the Tour 2013 starting February 12- 26th.

Come learn about the Rising Tide Leadership Institute and follow Katie, Dee and the Omani women’s adventure along the Arabian Coast.

This is going to be a blast!