Monday, January 15, 2007


Enterprise Architecture and Martin Luther King

I never thought much about Martin Luther King until Friday when my son told me upon arriving at home that Ms Balcanoff (She is Jewish) taught him that Martin Luther King was shot because a white guy didn't like what he says. He then immediately changed the conversation and inquired what is enterprise architecture. I wanted to provide him with an answer to both questions that has integrity when I realized that he will be a better Enterprise Architect than I could ever dream of...

My son is still in Kindergarten yet realizes the most efficient way to learn something is by asking directly. Of course, he will be in for a world of pain as he is untrained by the system where direct human conversations are replaced with coffee clutch conversations in corporate America.

In terms of answering his questions, I explained to him that Martin Luther King was the best of enterprise architects as he genuinely cared for the human condition, something of which is lost nowadays. I also told him that enterprise architecture requires leadership and that Martin Luther King was the best of them. He didn't attempt to use abstract authority or his rank on the organization chart to command and control but instead figured out that real alignment requires something more intimate and personal.

Martin Luther King didn't write comprehensive documentation nor did he attempt to sell something to better his resume. Martin Luther King did however give his live to serving others. In other words, he had values.

Since Martin Luther King focused on people, then process, then tools - in that order, he was wildly successful but also threatening to those who wanted to maintain status quo. He had a vision and more importantly he delivered. His ROI wasn't measured in terms of a project or a march but had longer lasting characteristics that didn't just have an effect on his enterprise but on an entire planet.

He constantly reminded us to dream, somewhat of a lost art in the world of the monotone your call is important to us culture we live in today. The rights of the people in work and at home and the savage desire to see them improve was not only his hope but more importantly our responsibility.

He encouraged men to be men and to be the brothers, husbands and fathers we ought to be. He reminded me to be vigilant in terms of breaking my own chains as I often feel caught between my own individual achievements and collective failures of others like me. If blogging existed in the 60's he surely would have made some noise in the blogosphere. The real question is will you...

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