What does it takes to be a real thought leader?
29/10/2020 - Abstract
We all like to think of ourselves as leaders of some sort or other at various times throughout our careers, but very few of us can truly identify as ‘Thought Leaders’.
David Nikolich, MD of ABSTRACT, takes a look at what it takes to be a real thought leader.
The term ‘Thought Leader’ was first formed in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, the founding editor of Strategy+Business. Kurtzman explained “A thought leader is recognised by peers, customers and industry experts as someone who deeply understands the business they are in, the needs of their customers and the broader marketplace in which they operate. They have distinctively original ideas, unique points of view and offer new insights on a regular basis.”
You would expect thought leaders to be effective communicators, while being innovative and passionate agents of change. However, being a thought leader should not be taken lightly: Thought leadership is a serious investment that requires a lot of time and energy.
Firstly, you need to build enduring trust with your audience. You should be instantly recognised for your credibility and reliability within your field. You should also work hard to form a strong intimate and selfless connection with your audience.
You will also need to work on your brand identity to help you stand out as an expert in your chosen specialist subject. This may mean applying small amounts of creative abrasion from time to time with carefully positioned ideas or commentary. Playing it safe won’t cut it if you want a competitive edge as a Thought Leader.
Naturally, you will need a platform or several platforms to promote your thoughts to others in your business, your industry or more generally to the wider public. You must, however, remain authentic and true to the cause. Remember, this is not about you, but what you can do for your industry and the greater good.
You will need to proactively create a culture of learning, moving our minds away from the operational aspects of what we do and deliberately heading towards the developmental and strategic thinking via the much bigger picture. You should look to the past for killer trends, while getting a sense of the present and its current effectiveness. Thought leaders take all this information and project their insights and designs into the near and distant future, to help others learn and develop today.
Thought leaders diligently create an environment in which their business partners, industry experts and subscribed readers are inspired to discover something new that spurs innovation – leading to a competitive advantage.
So, if you think you can and should dive headfirst into thought leadership, create space and time to think. Build trust and credibility by identifying where your expertise lies and how it can be useful to others. Design and promote your brand identity so that you stand out from the crowd. Choose your platform(s) for delivery. Devour information and devote time to learning, so you have something truly special to say on a regular basis. Finally, be the one that makes a positive and meaningful difference to someone else.
For more information visit the Abstract website
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