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2 Methods for Creativity in Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership implies leading to the new. That means creative thinking. Enter Thought Leadership Studio and dream new futures.


#creativity, #innovation, #mentaltraining, #nlp, #thoughtexperiments, #thoughtleadership

Doesn't it Show the Most Leadership When You are Taking You Audience Somewhere Truly New?

Nearly all companies are pumping out loads of web content. Most is fluff. The Content Marketing Institute says “(copycatting is the) one thing … killing content marketing and everyone is ignoring it".

Content parroting is how a company gets lost in the murk of the house of mirrors of its market segment, where all competitors look alike. But you can take your marketplace somewhere new and novel - where you stand alone with no competition - by rising from the crowd and reaching to the powers of inspiration.

Enhancing creativity is useful for business in many ways and you can use these techniques wherever innovative thinking can help you. My direct aim here is to help you get more out of your marketing by using your content to command an audience’s attention then lead it somewhere new. You can inspire and help them while also setting criteria for what they should expect from offerings in your category that is only met by your product or service.

Thought Leadership StudioThe Envision stage of the Thaut Triad is called Thought Leadership Studio, which is book-ended in the LEO model of Strategic Thought Leadership Marketing by Listen (to high level audience thinking about your category with Audience Attunement) and Output (the resulting content designed to influence marketplace thinking with Mindshift Director). Consider Thought Leadership Studio an imaginary "place" with the ideal climate for inspired creative thinking for coming up with market-leading ideas to help customers get more value out your product or service. Being more like play than work, this creative inspiration state is intrinsically rewarding on its own, even before you consider the power of its impact on your business.

You can work ever harder but if you are selling and serving the same way as the rest of your segment, it's like trying to chop down a California redwood with a dull ax as an unused sharpener sits by your side. The sharpener is the Creative Inspiration State.

Thought Leadership StudioThe Creative Inspiration State is highly revered by artists, musicians, mystics, and, yes, businesspeople. Fast Company called creativity the "most important leadership quality for CEOs."

Creativity is at the heart of our nature. It isn’t reserved for only the inventors, musicians and artists.
It's for you.
It's for me.
It's for all of us...
would we only claim our right to it, draw it close, decide where to point it, and jump on that wild horse to let it run free, hanging on exhilarated as it blurs the countryside with a powerful gallop.

Creativity isn’t specific to any activity. It’s more about the state of mind brought to a situation. And that state of mind can be brought to any situation.

Sweeping driveways can be transformative when the piles of dust serve as abstract forms where patterns are allowed to emerge, as Leonardo da Vinci used a stone wall...imagining scenes of nature assembling themselves from the random shapes.

Thought Leadership StudioOr consider the joy that a young child can find in the simplest things, like wondrous worlds in a field of grass. Do you remember what it was for you then? What did it feel like?

We need creative thinking for Strategic Thought Leadership since it's about leading people to the new. We become designers of our customers' enhanced futures, enriching their lives by elevating their experiences of our offerings.

So one of the most powerful things we can creatively design isn't a thing at all. It is the enhanced states we aim to lead them to associate with interacting with our companies and using our products and services.

Thought Leadership StudioIf you entered a virtual reality matrix where limits melted and you could wave the proverbial magic wand to bring about any state of mind in those you lead and serve, what would that state of mind be like? How would things be different if we led our customers to states like exhilarated joy, profound inner peace, and relaxed bliss? Is what we sell just material objects and service solutions to customer problems .... or are they not also conducting mediums for passing along these greatly uplifted feelings ... if we make them so? Even better, one of the best ways to attach an uplifted state, perhaps one you have intentionally designed, is to go there first and emanate it through every contact with your team and customers in creating, marketing, and delivering what you sell.

Speaking of greatly uplifted feelings, let's further examine the state of creative inspiration.

The Creative Inspiration State has certain characteristic that can help us tune into it more intentionally:
  • Immersion in the present moment.
  • A sense of effortless flow as opposed to trying hard.
  • A suspension of belief in personal limits.
  • Feeling tapped into a source of unlimited physical, emotional, and mental energy.
  • Acting fully consciously rather than from habit.
  • A positive, uplifted mood.
  • The expectation of success.

Creativity separates humans from artificial intelligence. Machines are based on the past. Artificial intelligence (AI) has gotten powerful enough to model behaviors well enough to simulate how a person would act in certain contexts, like driving, even.

But all AI has to go by is in the past.

Consciousness and creativity are closely related. They are both measurable by the deviation from what could have been anticipated by studying the past. Your creativity in this moment is how different your actions, thinking, and work are from what they would have been if generated by AI that studied your past behavior, thinking, and output to create a model you.


You can grant yourself freedom from limitations in Thought Leadership Studio by suspending doubt. As a mentor once said, “You can leave any personal limits by the door. They’ll be there when you leave if you want to pick them back up.”


Allow at least 10 distraction free minutes for this NLP-based mental training exercise for creativity. Do not attempt this thought experiment while participating in a motorcycle race or operating a chainsaw.

Recall one specific time when you were incredibly inspired... a peak personal inspiration experience.

Imagine what it would be like to fully step back into that time and let the sensory experience of that inspired moment slowly emerge from your memory.

As you remember that time, what did you see? See if you can count at least 5 peculiar things you saw at the time. How do you feel different when you imagine the scene bigger and brighter, as if you are turning up special effects controls?

What did you hear? Listen for at least 3 different sounds unique to the experience, external or internal. As you hear that again, how do your feelings change when you turn up the volume? And continue to increase the size and brightness?

How are you breathing and in what posture are you in? Assume the same breathing and posture as you continue to see and hear those things and make them bigger, brighter, and louder.

What do you feel? Where is the feeling and in what direction does it move? Where does it begin and end?

Imagine the feeling like a color- whatever color emerges first. In your imagination, connect where it ends back to the beginning so it makes a circular loop. What happens when you keep it moving that way, circulating it faster while thinking… “How will things be different when the marketplace embraces my new ideas?”

Spin it


Answer what you can. If no answers come to mind, imagine what they would be if they did. If the questions seem hard, imagine how things would be different if they were easy. Or just consider these without even trying to answer them. The best answers come later when you least expect them. Put a creative spin on them.

What distinctive ways of thinking do you or your team have...

...that can help a customer or prospect make a more informed decision about buying what you sell?

...that can help a customer or prospect get more value out of what you sell?

What do (or could) you and your team revere about ...

The special and distinctive benefits you bring to customers?

The special and distinctive relationships you have with your customers?

The special and distinctive buying and service experiences you orchestrate that make doing business with you special?

How can you package and codify …

Your proprietary service program for customers?

Your proprietary buying experience?

Your special relationship with customers?

If there were no limits on it, what state of mind would you want associated with your business, product, or service?

How would things be different with you leading the way by being a primo example of that state?

How would your marketing, selling, and service customer touchpoints be different if designed to perfectly evoke that state in customers by whomever you would consider the worlds' greatest experts at such things?

How can you and your team remove barriers to prospects and customers experiencing that state by studying and working on your business as a system?

Thought Leadership StudioLet's not slip into the habit-based, AI-replicable version of ourselves. Then, AI might as well take over. Let's instead be fully awake and explore the deep wells of creative inspiration within us, applying what we discover to serving others with creative leadership. Let's be our creative selves, more free from patterns.

Let's invent new futures.


Written by Chris McNeil, Strategic Thought Leadership NLP Coach and Consultant, Founder of Thaut, host of Thought Leadership Studio podcast, and Creator of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.

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