On the day dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., I'd like to share a lesser-known Dr. King quote: "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education."
In building our organizations, are we teaching individuals to think critically and challenge conventional wisdom? Too often, the answer is no. In many training programs, participants learn methods or systems by rote. Such education doesn't cultivate the innovators who can energize an organization with new ideas. It breeds "elevators": people who specialize in narrow, repetitive work. While every organization needs some "elevators," they are not the people to take it to the next level.
A true culture of education doesn't fear challenges to established ideas; it welcomes them. Instead of saying, "Memorize this," it asks, "What is your wisdom?" On a day recognizing a man who challenged the accepted wisdom of an entire nation, ask yourself:
What can you do to teach your people to recognize and value their own wisdom?