Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: Company Culture, Innovator Insights, and New Year’s Resolutions

Filed Under Innovation

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Arwen Heredia

January 9, 2014

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s 2014, and the time is ripe for making changes, starting fresh, and committing to personal and professional evolution. In this week’s Thought Leadership Roundup, we’ve plucked a few articles from around the web that can help you and your business get a jump on the road ahead.

Why Being a Thought Leader Helps Your Company Culture

From Dell:

“The core benefit of a strong, positive company culture is that it inspires positive emotions in employees that, in turn, benefit the entire organization. When done correctly, thought leadership can build:

Trust: When a leader writes about his philosophy, it holds him or her accountable to act it out. What he or she puts in writing can be trusted by employees, giving them a sense of consistency and security. When The Washington Post was purchased by Jeff Bezos, Post employees were understandably concerned that he would implement Amazon’s values, which weren’t necessarily right for The Post. He could have addressed these concerns privately but chose to do it publicly, through content, in order to be held accountable and to put his team at ease.

Excitement: When a company leader is recognized by the community as a thought leader, it gives him or her the opportunity to rally the team behind company ideals. Think of the excitement that results from a presentation at a company retreat regarding industry trends and exciting developments on the horizon. The same excitement can be achieved throughout the year when team members read their leaders’ articles.
Openness: If a leader never shares his ideals with his employees, assumptions and confusion can breed in the company as a whole. Sharing through content creates a sense of openness that fuels trust.

Pride: I’m not talking about the “seven deadly sins” kind of pride here, but the confidence-building kind. When employees view their leadership team as industry experts, it raises morale because people feel proud they work for the best and will take more pride individually in their own work.

Loyalty: Leaders who publish content can publicly recognize the hard work their teams are doing. Getting credit for your efforts in an online publication might not be equivalent to seeing your name in lights, but a little recognition can go a long way toward building company loyalty.”

Our take: We’re strong believers in the power and benefits of overall employee engagement. If identifying and supporting thought leaders in your company can drive that, there’s an excellent chance of it also driving returns.

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New Year’s Resolution: Become a Thought Leader

From Strategy + Business:

“Having been a laborer in the business of thought leadership for a couple of decades, I’m always curious to see the rankings of management gurus that appear around the end of the year. At the end of 2013, the most conspicuous list was the biannual Thinkers50—the high-profile brainchild of entrepreneurial U.K. journalists, and past s+b contributors Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer—which produced a flurry of nomination solicitations from wannabes, and gracious, self-promoting thanks from the happy winners.

You’re probably familiar with most of the people on thought leader lists like the Thinkers50. These are folks—Clayton Christensen, Rita McGrath, Marshall Goldsmith, et al.—whose names pop up regularly in the business press, convention brochures, and business book bestseller lists. But how did they become thought leaders? And if you aspire to become more influential in your company, in your profession or industry, or in the marketplace, how can you follow in their footsteps?”

Our take: this article is not only full of excellent advice, but books to read and a SlideShare presentation from S+B’s Art Kleiner. Although the author of the piece is just a shade pessimistic about the reality of thought leadership versus the tendency to use the term on anyone with an opinion, it’s a worthwhile read nonetheless.

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Insights From A Smart House Innovator

From Forbes:

“Much has been written about the “Internet of Things”, and the promise of smart devices making our lives better and more efficient. One of the places most logical for this reality to transform our daily lives is in the home. There are a number of entrepreneurs who have devoted considerable time and attention to the possibility, like Nest CEO Tony Fadell who has been dubbed “a father of the iPod” dating back to his days at Apple AAPL -1.25%, and who is now focused on home automation, designing and manufacturing sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors.

Another entrepreneur devoted to smart home technology is Ion Cuervas-Mons, CEO of Think Big Factory, a Madrid-based product and strategic design consultancy that creates opportunities at the intersection between digital and physical realities. Think Big Factory is part of a group of companies called Barrabes Smart Cluster. I recently caught up with Cuervas-Mons in Hong Kong, and I had a chance to get his perspectives on the smart house technology, to glean examples from his company and others who are thought leaders in this space, and to understand the differences in forms that smart technology might take in places like China and India versus the West.”

Our take: This particular piece isn’t about thought leadership as a concept, but it’s a great example of what it truly means to be a thought leader. It demonstrates the level of intimacy with an industry, and the total broadness of expertise that’s necessary to deserve the title.

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