About Thought Leadership Studio Podcast:
The Definition of Thought Leadership
What is exactly is Thought Leadership ... in particular, what is Strategic Thought Leadership?
Strategic Thought leadership is leading an audience to embrace you or your organization's unique perspective on what you offer (your Thought Leadership Model).
And if you do it well, they will see you or your organization as distinctive and set apart from the rest of the field.
This is a simple but powerful definition that includes some assumptions that merit unpacking.
Doing thought leadership properly means you aim to respectfully influence, not just educate. It's an active role where you encourage recipients to not just understand your point of view, but also embrace it and act on it.
It's important to emphasize respect: putting their needs first is what separates positive influence from manipulation. Effective thought leadership actually helps liberate people from self-limiting beliefs.
Instead of taking away their power like a dictator would, Strategic Thought Leadership expands their power with new choices.
Effective thought leadership leads a specific audience and there is no audience that is "too small" to escape the definition.
If you build an effective thought leadership model about what you do and it makes a positive difference in one person's life, then it is significant for that person and you have performed thought leadership.
For a business, the audience might be a specific and narrow demographic or psychographic niche within the total customer base of their industry. The thought leading company could aim to serve this segment with a unique and liberating point of view on how to use their product.
You don't have to get "them all" to do thought leadership.
It's about your audience's thinking more than yours
It's not about the thought leader, it's about the thought leadership and what it does for the audience.
Paying more attention to the thought leader than the thought leadership would be like a sports fan being more interested in the personal life of the owner of his football team than if the team is winning.
Thought leadership is more effective when the focus moves from where it originated to building a robust Thought Leadership Model that can move the thinking of a market segment.
Have you noticed how the greatest leaders focus their followers on themes and concepts bigger than themselves?
Isn't it more powerful to focus on building the strength of the ideas and how they move people instead of just building a pedestal for the idea-maker?
A Thought Leadership Model can thrive and create greater influence when released from the originator into the wild where it can grow and develop, with many people contributing to its evolution or adapting it to different situations.
Of course, recognition of the originator of this thought leadership is an emergent, natural outcome of doing this well. But it's a side benefit, not the focus.
Making it Strategic
Doing this with intention and awareness makes it Strategic Thought Leadership.
- Once you realize it is worth doing, what is the number one obstacle that stops you from building your skillset to do it as well as possible?
- What resource do you need to overcome this obstacle and master Strategic Thought Leadership?
- How will putting this resource fully into place make things different?