The Power of Thought Leadership

August 25th, 2015

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“Leadership is bringing people into new realms of excellence and challenging them to become distinguished in their chosen field ”

-Onyi Anyado
What we do matters. Not only have most of us spent considerable time, energy and investment honing our skillsets, mindsets, and careers, we have no doubt spent numerous hours deliberating, stressing over and/or celebrating many of our decisions, actions and achievements. Why? Quite simply it is because when we invest so heavily in what we do it becomes an extension of who we are and what we value.

So how is it that some people seem to become more highly regarded for this whilst others (who have the same knowledge, skillsets and drive) don’t? The answer lies in their positioning as Thought Leaders.

Thought Leaders are the ‘go-to’ people and informed opinion leaders in their industry or field of expertise. They are fast becoming the movers and shakers of today’s leadership world because they have ability to not only inspire people with innovative thinking but to equip them with the knowledge and tools to turn ideas into reality. They have the ability galvanize thoughts and actions and transform the way things are done. Furthermore they are achieving significant impact by harnessing the belief and engagement of others in what they do and stand for.

Positioning ourselves as thought leaders is one of the most effective ways to future proof our careers. Not only does it lead to exposure for our ideas it increases our ability to influence decisions and thinking at a much higher level, be it within an organisation, industry or community. Rather than us as individuals seeking out opportunities we find that opportunities seek us out. We become much more attractive and valuable in what we do and how.

Importantly, thought leadership is not merely about being known or famous. It is about being known for making a difference. For this reason, becoming a Thought Leader requires time and experience as well as courage to put ourselves into the spotlight. Leveraging our knowledge and backgrounds requires us to commit to showcasing our talents, achievements and successes and sharing a blue print for others to do the same. It is through this replication of success that our positioning as a Thought Leader is cemented.

So how do we position ourselves as thought leaders in our careers?

  1. Identify The Business Of You: To build your unique advantage and position you need to know your strengths, your blind spots and what it is exactly that you stand for. Understand how the ‘business of you’ i.e. your brand is positioned in the market place.
  2. Simplify Your Message & Platform: Effective leaders are able to simplify the ambiguous and the complex and make more sense out of the ordinary. They communicate it in a straightforward manner that helps enable others and turn ideas into a reality.
  3. Build A Strategic Network: Identify your own circle of influencers and align with the right partners, advocates and communities who will elevate you and your message.
  4. Create A Blueprint: Thought leaders not only create opportunities to see and experience a new way of thinking, they create a blueprint for others to follow. They provide frameworks, processes and guides to help others achieve success and in doing so create a community that align with what they do and stand for.
  5. Align Your Brand: To really elevate your professional positioning, your values, knowledge, achievements and behaviours need to align with your messaging. Your LinkedIn profiles, blogs, publications, and other online or print messaging needs to reinforce exactly who you are, what you do and what you stand for.
  6. Contribute & Engage: Identify ways to make meaningful and authentic contributions that consolidate your message, be it through speaking, writing, or your day-to-day engagement as a strategic leader.
  7. Position Yourself For Success: This is not about seeking out opportunities for endless self promotion but opportunities that will show case you and your message; raise your visibility; and allow you to influence and inspire others into new ways of thinking, new pathways and new opportunities.
  8. Scale & Replicate: Build a long term influencing strategy that positions you as the go to person for your industry, your business and your teams.

As leaders, most of us are driven to bring about lasting change that has a legacy long after we have left the building. Knowing that we have created new and sustainable opportunities, and transformed our teams and businesses not only positions us as Thought Leaders or experts in our filed it also raises the degree of personal fulfilment in what we do.

Margot AndersenIf you would like to explore ways to build confidence, clarity and choice in your career please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

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