BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
August 19, 2011 7:00 AM CDT

Now is the time for your ‘Dream’

Project management lessons learned from MLK


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses a crowd in 1964.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses a crowd in 1964.
July 4th was still a couple of days away when I began writing the column for August. Living in a military town and in the greatest country in the world, freedom seems to be all around me. Yet, it was not always that way for all of us.

Let me say, first, that the wonderful thing about our nation is that we do not have to accept the status quo. For instance, we could be a great bricklayer and have the fastest trowel in the West, but dream to go beyond that – to owning a business, pursuing that dream, and employing others along the way. Our country and industry provide a way for that to happen. We do enjoy these freedoms.

But, about 50 years ago, this “freedom for all” concept came to a head. A young man back then thought about all of this, and wondered about those freedoms. He wasn’t wondering about starting a business, but about those basic freedoms that everyone else in the country seemed to be taking for granted. Those included the right to vote, the right to sit where you want on a city bus or at a restaurant, and the right to quench your thirst at any public drinking fountain. The ability to buy a house in the neighborhood you want, and send your kids to a good school weren’t available to all. Those ideas seemed radical.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those radical types. He had this outrageous notion that people should be judged by content of character, and not color of skin. Dr. King helped orchestrate a large rally in Washington, D.C., during in August 1963. In fact, it remains as one of the largest rallies ever held there, certainly, to that point in time. He spoke, inspired, mesmerized and motivated an entire country with a speech we now remember as, “I Have a Dream.”

Dr. King saw a number of components to his future dream:
  • The American Dream would be lived out by all people
  • Our nation would rise up and live out “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”
  • The sons of former slaves could sit down at the table of brotherhood with the sons of former slave owners
  • All states would be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice for all races
  • Freedom would ring for everyone, from every town, across this entire country.
The main theme that ran through his speech was that “Now is the time.” I certainly can’t do his speech the justice it deserves, so I urge you this anniversary month to find it on the Internet and listen to or read it.

Dr. King closed his speech by seeing in his heart and mind the time when:
“…all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
As we struggle with the state of our economy and hang on until things change for the better, let’s remember what an entire group of our own citizens had to endure. In this great country of ours, hanging on is nothing. In fact, we should accept it as a badge of honor, almost, to see our businesses through to the end of this crummy economy. It could be our way of paying respect to those who understand what hanging on is all about.

Our industry can realize that the goal – the dream – is in sight. We’ve already endured about three years of this misery, and probably are passed the half-way point. When you feel discouraged with the way things are going, sort of like you might be getting picked on, think about those millions of Americans who had to put up with much worse than that, and for about 100 years longer! Things turned around for them after Dr. King and other leaders identified a “dream,” and challenged each other that now being the time.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at

Copyright 2011 Gary Micheloni


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