Greetings. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the U.S., and a perfect time to think about the life and ideas of Dr. King. While his work wasn't focused on providing guidance to companies and organizations, he did have a clear and powerful commitment to the rights of workers–especially those, like sanitation workers, who were responsible for doing the jobs that many people in our society look down upon. He understood, in keeping with one of the premises of this blog, that everyone in our organizations matters. And that everyone has the potential for genius if given the opportunity.
He also recognized the responsibility that all of us have to do our work to the best of our abilities, a thought emphasized in these words:
"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could not do it better."
A responsibility enabled by the commitment of leaders who encourage employees at all levels to be curious, ask questions and seek to innovate in ways that deliver greater value to our customers and everyone we have the privilege to serve.
During the past month I've had the pleasure of facilitating the strategic planning process for one our customers. It's a fast growing company called REI Systems, based in northern Virginia, that's earned a great reputation for using information technology to solve important public sector challenges. But it's a company focused on much more than designing the best technical solutions for customers, because REI's real commitment is to build systems that help its customers "improve the lives of millions of people." It's a commitment that guides the work of its leaders and employees and which leads me to one more quote from Dr. King that underscores the real promise of our companies:
"Life's most important and urgent question is — What are you doing for others?"