Thursday Thought Leadership Roundup: #TBT with Some of Our Favorite Pieces
For this week’s thought leadership roundup, we thought we’d honor the internet world’s beloved #ThrowBackThursday, and revisit some of our favorite pieces from Roundups past. Below are six picks covering everything from giving the term a refined meaning to leveraging LinkedIn, the future of your reputation, and understanding why you may not be quite ready to call yourself a thought leader.
1. Why Thought Leadership Needs a Reset
From Apex PR:
“Given the huge rise of claims to thought leadership by corporate and individual brands, one would think we are basking in a sea of clever, distinct and poignant thinking that genuinely challenges conventional approaches. And if you sift hard enough, you’ll find diamonds in the rough in most categories. But, these gems are getting crowded out by posers who are sullying the original principle of thought leadership.
A thought leader can refer to an individual or organization that is recognized as an authority and whose expertise is sought. The term was first used by Joel Kurtzman in 1994, editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business Magazine, to help staff access qualified area experts. It still serves this purpose, but has evolved into the realm of advocacy where people or firms offer new, perhaps unconventional strategies to persistent or emerging problems.”
Our take: If the growing disdain for haphazard use of the term “thought leadership” is any indicator, this article makes an excellent point — “If you’re not in it for the long-term with a specific mission, it’s not thought leadership.”
2. Five Questions to Identify Thought Leaders In Your Corporate Ranks
“Let’s say you run a large industrial firm. When looking for a non-CEO to share the company’s vision, engineers or product designers usually are the first to come to mind. These individuals may have expansive knowledge of your signature product and even the state of the industry, but do they have the ability to talk about more than the product? Can they look beyond the benefits and features of design, and expand their thinking to include a vision for your industry’s future? And how that vision impacts customers?”
Our take: The author makes some exceptionally insightful observations here about the clear benefits of leveraging thought leaders the right way for business returns. What seem like obvious questions are often passed over for cheaper, easier answers, but this article deftly shows why that’s a mistake.
3. Using LinkedIn to Build Thought Leadership Influence
From CP America:
“Longform posts were previously only offered to a small group of industry leaders known as “LinkedIn Influencers” and were basically blog posts or short articles published directly to the platform. According to LinkedIn’s Head of Content Products, Ryan Roslansky, the influencer posts generate nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments, on average. With the new changes, every user will have the opportunity to compose these longform posts and link them to their profile.
- Once the article is published it will become a part of your public profile: This means that when someone does a search for you online, this article will come up with your LinkedIn profile. If you are solving a unique challenge in the profession, this could be your opportunity to go into more detail on your LinkedIn page.
- LinkedIn will push some of the higher quality content to relevant audiences: If your longform post is well received, it could essentially be disseminated by LinkedIn itself. Talk about having a broad audience!“
Our take: These changes to LinkedIn publishing, and the advice from CPA, are applicable to anyone looking for a broader audience and disseminated reach for their content. It’s imperative to tap into new networks in order to grow influence and gain perspective.
4. Think You’re a Thought Leader? You’re Probably Wrong
From Financial Post:
“What Canadian businesses desperately need right now are a few business leaders who are willing to seize the conch, demonstrate leadership, and challenge government and industry alike in a public and personal way. Instead, Canadian leaders are notably absent from the international stage. January’s meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos is a perfect example. Of the more than 2,500 participants, only 36 are listed as coming from Canada. Just eight speakers for the summit are listed as Canadian, and not a single one was representing a Canadian-based business.
That means Canadian CEOs were almost completely absent at one of the most significant platforms for thought leadership in the world. Of course, to get a spot at Davos, people need to believe that you have something to say…Executives often dismiss thought leadership as yet another demand on their time that offers no quantitative return on investment. It’s all well and good to produce fantastic financial results, but that’s just table stakes in today’s world of hyper consumer cynicism.”
Our take: While we can’t necessarily speak for Canada, this piece demonstrates an important lesson that all businesses and leaders should pay attention to — if you’re not working at building your brand and network, you will be left behind.
5. July 17th, 2014: The Four Counterintuitive Truths About Effective Coaching
“Coaching is an essential tool for managers and leaders to increase the impact and engagement of their teams. Your organization flourishes when people are self-sufficient and focused on the stuff that matters. Coaching helps make that happen. But getting managers coaching more is easier said than done. No one has time for long ‘touchy feely’ conversations. But wouldn’t it be good if coaching could be practical and to the point as well as useful and empowering? Join us for this provocative webinar that shares insights and tools to help you make coaching a daily tool all your managers can use.”
Our take: The world would be a much better place if people in power focused on effective leadership skills before becoming managers of people (or projects, for that matter). We’ve talked before about the direct correlation between employee engagement and ROI; and, as engagement truly starts with good leadership, making sure your team leads are good coaches is key to boosting returns and growth.
6. The Future of Reputation is about Building from the Inside Out
From MSL Group:
“You’ve managed people, and led them – so have we. We don’t need convincing of the impact of ‘employee engagement’ because we experience it firsthand almost every day. Forget the terse business definitions, you can see ‘engagement’ in someone’s eyes, their body language, the things they say; and you can measure it in anything from their attendance record to their sales figures.
These tangible outcomes of ‘employee engagement’ have equally tangible implications for corporate reputations. As shared personal experiences become the dominant currency of reputation, so the shared experiences of employees, and the people they interact with, continue to grow in value.”
Our take: Can we get an amen? The way this author approaches the subject of reputation building and its very important connection to strategic business initiatives is intelligent, candid, and very clear. Taking his advice = harnessing more fantastic opportunities, regardless of the type of organization you work for.