Is there anything that is not disrupted today? We understand that technology is in a constant flux, and disruption around technology is the norm that causes innovation and new products to be developed. Hold on- but is this article not about Thought Leadership you may ask?
Most people still don’t have the idea of what thought leadership is, and now this concept that we have little understanding of is going to be disrupted!
We can think the idea of thought leadership has merits, but it’s actually a flawed concept from the start. If anyone thinks they can become a thought leader, then they or the people who are trying to make them thought leaders have been misled in two very distinct areas – the first being our understanding of our own thinking, and secondly our understanding of the concept of what leadership really is.
THOUGHTS and our own thinking : How important do we actually think our thoughts are? Do we have the ability to tell the stories of others and share their experiences in a meaningful way? Do we think we have better thoughts than others, or are we fooled into thinking we are experts in our field because we work for a top company? Collaborating our thoughts and ideas with others should work, but often we feel that people will think less of us if we don’t have a definite opinion. Ultimately we control ourselves with thinking that limits the possibility of any new disruptive thoughts, and we have difficulty challenging our own thinking. This insecurity in our thinking causes us to question ourselves when we begin to challenge the conventional thinking, and the thinking of others. Disruption involves challenging the status quo, but it has to start with our own thinking.
LEADERSHIP : Are we secure enough in ourselves to be a leader? Are we able to be vulnerable or are we pretending to be vulnerable as long as we think we are in control? Leadership is actually about serving others and if we cannot be vulnerable, we will not be able to listen and empathise long enough to understand how we can serve others.
The bottom line of Thought Leadership is… If we think we can be thought leaders by saying what is important to us or the companies we work for, then we have stinking thinking and we have no right to give ourselves any title.
What is the solution and how can Thought Leadership be Disrupted? Firstly any thinking or leadership needs to be authentic, so don’t force yourself or anyone else to be a thought leader. Encourage others to give their opinions, and we should be open to new ideas and new thinking. To accomplish this we need to ask the experts to keep quiet, and listen to understand how the others are thinking. Engage with these people and fully understand what they are trying to communicate before judging the idea as impractical or useless.
The role of a Thought Leader should be defined as the CLO (Chief Listening Officer), more a facilitator than leader, serving the needs of the organisation, and getting the best ideas from within the organisation by engaging and asking questions that would be catalysts for innovation. These new ideas can then be explored and further expanded on so that more ideas and opinions emerge which will ultimately lead to more innovation.
Ultimately the facilitator would be a senior person who knows how to deal with the intellectual property of the organisation yet at the same time produces articles that would help the company gain market exposure, rather that trying to build his own brand at the cost of the organisation. The reality is if this person is authentic they will build the organisations brand as much as they build their own, but that requires a big thinking person with lots of integrity.
The challenge is real, thought leadership will be disrupted and will you have the right person as a catalyst in your organisation?