True thought leadership is not about conveying new ideas, showing directions for innovation and offloading the latest trends. There is a term for that: journalism.
Management gurus, whether from a Harvard pulpit or a Consulting Firm, who pontificate about trends or show their latest ‘research’ after interviewing 50 CEOs, and provide tons of valuable data (legitimized by their brand) but do not make people think, think differently, or advance in their possibilities, are glorified journalists. And we have lots of them.
A lot of what comes to us from such prestigious business pulpits is of inferior quality to what can be found in the pages of the FT or The New York Times.
‘It made me think’ is the most rewarding testimonial you can get, whether you are running a 50 people, a 500 or a 5,000 people organization. Or you consult for them.
Mind you, you don’t need thought leadership for your intellectual living all the time. You watch the news, read the Twitter feed and subscribe to those trend reports. We need all of them. But let’s call thought leadership exactly what it is, what it says on the can.
Although I understand the temptation, it always amazes me to see those resumes/CVs on professional pages, digital or otherwise, that start with ‘a thought leader, passionate for X,Y,Z’. And I often wonder where the title comes from. Self-attribution of thought leadership is a risky affair.
Personally, I have two other additional attributes to thought leadership, which I don’t expect other people to agree with.
My real, personal and possibly un-transferable trio of thought leadership is (1) It makes me think; (2) It provides me with some hope; (3) It pushes me to be bolder.
Now, that is for me the Thought Leadership Premium Package.