It’s easy to trawl social media channels and find numerous pieces of content. Slick graphics, catchy titles and information that can inspire.
It’s easy to listen to an ‘expert’ and hold onto their every word.
It’s also easy to critique a piece of content, without coming up with your own thoughts around it.
Are we merely consuming and regurgitating this information, or are we creating our own thought leadership from it?
Matt Church from Thought Leaders Global states:
A thought leader is a leading authority in their field of expertise. They have access to a wealth of specialised knowledge which makes them uniquely valuable. They have collected information from varied and comprehensive sources and – most importantly – have packaged it so it can be effectively taught to others.
And to add to this thinking, within her book Catalyst Content (2020), Jane Anderson states
A thought leader has the ability to research, apply, reflect and share – not ‘what am I now an expert in and this is everything I know’ – rather – what do I now know that can help the people I am connected to?
As leaders of others’ learning, it is vital that we are able to both model and encourage thought leadership. This means developing an ability to place our own lens over information. Be it the lens of our context, purpose or audience; it is this unique lens that makes information from multiple sources accessible not only for ourselves but for those we serve.
This may include someone working in Organisational Development, in Human Resources, Strategy, Education, Leadership, or any number of contexts.
Developing your thought leadership does, however, take commitment. It requires
- Clarity through identifying how research can be used to target specific outcomes.
- Strategy to design and manage systems to support stakeholders.
- Recording your own practice as a rich source of data.
- Reflection through evaluation and iteration of practice.
- Resonance by differentiating content and packaging with relevance.
My question to you is – do you wish to be a consumer of others’ thinking, or create your own thought leadership?
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