Thought Leadership is a new addition in our business vocabulary, trying to integrate various concepts under one catch-all buzzword. And successfully too, given its widespread usage. In simple terms describes a person or an organization that he/she/it is an authority in his/her/it field. But it is also and a new solution for individuals and business, providing new approaches, tools, ideas and ready-made innovation that can direct the market to new trends and ways, more successful and profitable sometimes [!!!].
What Exactly is Thought Leadership?
Thought Leadership, first and foremost, is a Leadership discipline and as such, must be view. Why? Because as such participates in all the attributes of a discipline (can be practiced, taught, developed, employed, used for better or worst [!!!], better the lives of people or not, etc). Moreover as a leadership strategy can be utilized for achieving very clear and tangibly results not only for individuals and companies but and for societies as well. Let’s first see, what a Thought Leader is, in order to find out how he/she or it can contribute in forming a novel personal, business or social environment.
A Small Definition of a Thought Leader
Thought Leadership is Business jargon, for a person or organization who/it have authority in a field and present innovation in he/hers/its practices. As a word and idea is both a more general concept, as well as a meme, to signify a shifting in the direction and a new approach in the business [and perhaps in social] practices. More specifically, Forbes defines a Though Leader as:
an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.
But that is not all, and the term tents to hide many important parameters! Parameters, crucial for understanding the concept.
Thought Leadership is many things and, as a concept, incorporates various significant ideas under an umbrella-like word that denotes the leadership in a field. It usually incorporates:
- Leadership Principals
- Strategic Perspectives, directions and thinking
- Drives and leads
- Influence and extensive expertise on a sector
- A large network of in the sector friend, colleagues, associates, etc.
- Branding approaches
- Content aggregation, management and marketing
- Communication & Awareness Strategies
- Communities gathering and tribe leadership practices
- Marketing approaches
- Unique perspectives
- Sharing. dissemination and differentiation policies
- Focus on Ideas and thoughts, rather than products and materials
- Incorporation of the principles of free provide and sharing
- People-benefited polices
- Active participation in the process of develop and implemented the new ideas in real-time situations
Characteristics of a Successful Thought Leader
The above features, though, are not clarify the main distinction between thought leaders in general, and the successful (i.e. effective) thought leaders. I believe that today there are many people, organizations, firms, brands, or other entities, can play a successful role in thought leadership, but the especially successful ones (the ones influencing many trends, people and market conditions) have some specific characteristics, separate them for the rest.
According to this interpretation, a successful though leader should have:
- A unique above-the-average view and vision
- A tendency of innovation and break-through approaches
- Excellent communication skills
- A strategic and leadership differentiation
- A clear-cut strategic view of the market environment
- A solid above-average background, working knowledge and experience on the specific subjects of his/hers/it field
- A good (above average and educated) perspective about the trends, conditions, and parameters would influence in a way (positive or negative) his/hers particular sector of expertise.
- An internationalized approach
- A tendency for the development of unique approaches and Ideas
- Active participation in the dissemination of his/hers/it approaches and care (or coordination) for their implantation
- Focus on soft-ware [ideas, views, approaches, services, methodologies] rather than the hard-ware [products, items, consumer goods, etc]
- Expertise and knowledge on the field of people’s empowerment and familiarization and/or engagement on the business practices employed within the business consulting services.
- Elaborated knowledge, skills, attitudes and aptitudes, permits him/her to:
- Incorporate and integrate various information, patterns and trends coming from various resources, channels, media, etc in comprehensible patterns
- Develop further his/hers strategic writing, presentation and communication abilities.
- Function effectively as content aggregator and marketing material developer for the new trends and ideas
- Operate as a marketing and promotional expert
- Cultivate excellent presentation, teaching, and educational experience
- Become thorough at coaching, mediation, and facilitation.
[to name only a few basic characteristics[!!!]]
My [temp] Approach on Thought Leadership
Based on the above, a [temp] working approach (for communication and extrapolation purposes) might it be in order. I won’t even try to proceed in providing a definition, since the most definitions I have read, influenced by the content and context on which have been drawn. Simply, for me, Thought Leadership functions as a brokerage agent bringing together ideas, approaches, products, methods, etc which, without it, would stay in isolation.
Therefore, the basic function of a Thought Leader is to cross-fertilize ideas and concepts, previously isolated, and create new packages and Ideavirus with new directions, and approaches. In that content, a Thought Leader plays the role of a brokerage agency, transferring and sometimes involving in and supervising the implementation of the new ideas/products/services/… in the real market conditions.
Read Some More
- What Is A Thought Leader?, by Russ Alan Prince and Bruce Rogers
- What Is Thought Leadership? 5 Steps To Get It Right, by Michael Brenner
- How to Identify a Wannabe Thought Leader, by James O’Brien
- The Golden Rules for Creating Thoughtful Thought Leadership, by DANIEL W. RASMUS
Think Some More
Do you believe that Thought Leadership, can be proved a very successful practice in disentangling the business from the old problems of stagnation, lack of ideas and lack of innovation/imagination? Do your think that can be a new way of doing business or a new approach can be utilized for the betterment of the society? Do you believe that Thought Leadership and Thought Leaders can play an even more significant role in the trends that will shape the future paths in business and society? Please comment on what do you think the role of Thought Leadership can be for us, our society, our economy, our world.
What You Want to Do, Next? [A Small Call for Action]
If this post has intrigue you, a little, why you don’t try to apply some of the ideas discussed here in your everyday life, just for the fun of it.
Do you believe that you can be a though leader, or not? And if not, why do you believe something absurd like that. I think that you really can be a Thought Leader. I mean you already write and communicate via e-mail, social media, you read and comment, you exchange opinions and ideas with a lot of people every day. Don’t you?
So you certainly you can be a Thought Leader, who can write, speak, communicate ideas and subjects you find important, and I cannot even imagine of. And perhaps only this action it may bring a new idea, approach, direction to someone, to a company, to a society. Wouldn’t be something [!!!].
For me, the main thing is to start-up from somewhere, to put the gears in motion (if you choose to do, so). I believe that everyone, in a smaller or larger degree, can practice effective Thought Leadership, towards our environment, our society, our business and in our personal lives.