Thought Leadership Studio Blog Posts:

From Ideas to Impact - The Leadership Brain Scan

Nearly everyone who has been in business for a while has insights that could form the basis of a strong thought leadership position. The Leadership Brain Scan interview method helps harvest and package these ideas.


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Harvest Your Latent Thought Leadership

Nearly everyone who has been in business for a while has distinctive ways of thinking that:

  1. Are empowering to their customers, market segment, or audience, and
  2. Could be the basis of a strong thought leadership position...
...but they rarely know how to organize and package that thinking.

Ideas aren't enough on their own. They need to be built out into empowering models that, once effectively published and well-promoted, attract and grow support and engaged audiences.

LEO model of thought leadership

Three Perspectives of Strategic Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership Studio is not just the name of the podcast and this site. It is also one of the three perspectives of the LEO model of Strategic Thought Leadership:

LEO = Listen | Envision | Output.

Thought Leadership Studio is the name of the Envision component of this triple-perspective system.

Studio implies a design space and, in this case, the space is the imagination of the leader. It's in your imagination that you Envision a new way of thinking for an audience that helps them get more of what is important to them with a fresh perspective and a new set of talking points.

How to know what is important to them? The Insight that comes from Listening with well-trained ears that are attuned to discovering unmet higher values.

You can enter the system at either point:

  1. Listen to discover unmet higher values, or...
  2. Envision innovative new models of thinking to contrast with current thinking.
The Listening for Insight perspective is necessary and important - as is the Output stage of bringing your vision to life in media - but this post is concerned with the Envision with your Imagination angle.

If Listening for insight and Outputting with media for impact are the 2 wings of the bird that enable it to fly, then Envisioning with the imagination is the body of the bird that connects them and holds it all together.

This is about a system for building a robust Thought Leadership Model. The Leadership Brain Scan enters that system at the Envision perspective.

The Leadership Brain Scan

The Leadership Brain Scan is a process for helping leaders discover their as-yet not fully harvested thought leadership.

The process is to:

  1. Help the leader get into the state of unconscious the times when they spontaneously helped a customer, team or audience with ideas that were uniquely theirs.
  2. Recover and build on these ideas.
  3. Collaborate on evolving them towards full thought leadership positions.
It is an interview process, with a set of questions at hand. In nearly ever case, these questions are tweaked to match the language and level of the leader.

I trust the reader to keep that in mind and imagine "what version of this question would make sense to me or my clients?" as well as "how does this apply to my situation?"

Leadership Brain Scan Questions

Highly Motivated State

Phase 1: Getting into State

When were some times...:

  1. You had unique insights that empowered your audience or customer?
  2. You were in a state of flow such that that unique ideas flowed effortlessly?
As you recall these times, slowly immerse back into them and relive them as if they are happening again:

  • See what you were seeing.
  • Hear what you were hearing.
  • Feel what you were feeling.
  • Were there any scents or tastes accompanying the experience? If so, recall these as well.
  • Breathe the same way you were breathing.
Take time to fully explore not only these personal peak experiences but also what led up to them:

  • What internal and external events set up these helpful states of mind for you?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • What common factors are you noticing that you can systematically recreate to access these states more often and point them in the direction you want to go?

Phase 2: Accessing Unique and Empowering Insights.

What special expertise exists (or could exist) within the minds in your company...

  1. that can help a customer or prospect make a more informed decision about buying what you sell?
  2. That can help a customer or prospect extract more value out of what you sell?
  3. That could help people elevate their use of what you offer to a new and higher purpose?

Phase 3: Attaching Positive Feelings to Potential Thought Leadership Positions.

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

  1. The special and distinctive benefits you bring to customers?
  2. The special and distinctive relationship you have with your customers?
  3. The special and distinctive buying experience you have that makes doing business with you special?
  4. Your leadership and what it does for your customers or audience?

Phase 4: Initiating the Thought Leadership Packaging Process.

Journaling for Thought LeadershipTo amplify that reference, how can we package and codify...

  1. Your proprietary service program for customers?
  2. Your proprietary buying experience?
  3. Your special relationship with customers?

Phase 5: Awakening the Imagination Further.

  1. What special benefits would you give your customers if anything was possible?
  2. What state of mind or feelings would you transfer to them through your product or service?
  3. What distinctive physical, tangible benefits of using your product or service?
  4. What "Easter egg" surprises would you enjoy them being delighted by?

I hope sharing some of our "working notes" for interviewing leaders with the Leadership Brain Scan is helpful for you.

I suggest taking time with the questions. Reflect deeply on them. Let them sink in. Journal your answers.

If you want more detail or information, please feel free to use the form at the bottom of the page to make a suggestion or ask any questions.


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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