Business growth can be achieved in various ways, yet corporations still focus on the traditional approaches such as sales, new markets, new brands, mergers and acquisitions and introducing new products. What organizations don’t realize is the power of knowledge sharing. There is a unique opportunity for corporations to tap into knowledge with clients and strategic partners to enable growth and innovation through the power of thought leadership. Thought leadership is a different type of growth strategy used by many corporations such as McKinsey, Deloitte, IBM, and PwC. Organizations must now begin to assess, package and share their own best practices, knowledge-sets, case studies and highly skilled and talented leaders to serve as value-added resources to fuel business growth. To put it simply, thought leadership is a strategy that challenges leadership on a whole other level.
Firstly, a thought leader is someone who identifies trends, common themes and patterns within a particular industry or functional area of expertise to assist others to find new opportunities or solutions for growth. Most people think thought leadership is only meant to be practiced by senior executives. In traditional workplaces, this may be the case. But in new workplaces where embracing new ideas and welcoming the share of ideas regardless of hierarchy or rank, any employee can be a thought leader. In today’s business world, the most relevant employees are the ones starting the conversation, benefiting both individual and corporation.
Businesses that practice thought leadership as a strategy for growth demonstrates the essence of market leadership, corporate accountability and changing the rules of client engagement. It requires organizations to let go of the past and focus on the present to excel its future and its clients. It also allows corporations to think differently about the industry and to accept the fact that the traditional ways of doing things may no longer be efficient and effective – and collaborating with clients is the way to solve the future together. Thought leadership is all about introducing new methods of thinking that will reinvent industries, impacting business models, the employees, the marketplace, consumers and the workplace. /
Here are some effective steps on how to practice thought-leadership:
Create your personal brand
Before people can call you a thought leader, you must define and manage how other people perceive you as an employee. There are four questions to keep in mind when building your personal brand.
- What is your brand’s enduring idea?
- How will your brand best differentiate itself?
- Whom will your brand serve?
- What is the primary experience your brand will deliver?
Identify the methodology that best represents the problems your personal employee brand solves
You may have the expertise or the knowledge about a particular area, and as a thought leader, you must ensure that your personal employee brand supports a proven step-by- step methodology that defines the approach to the problems your brand solves. Your overall personal employee brand must demonstrate that you have the knowledge and ability to overcome the most challenging sets of circumstances. Once you have accomplished this, you can use these skills to effectively solve and showcase your solution sets to the organization.
Manage your Thought Leadership Profile
Having a thought leadership profile is important. The profile is your management tool that keeps your personal employee brand, methodology, and subject matter expertise updated. Some examples of primary elements to include in your thought leadership profile: subject matter expertise, methodology, target audience, industry knowledge, problems that your thought leadership solves, and industry opportunities/ROI outcomes. Your profile will demonstrate your real value and give you more opportunities to explore.
Organizations typically stick to doing things the traditional way as a safer metric. However, playing it safe can sometimes be ineffective. In order for corporations to differentiate themselves from other competitors, they must be willing to incorporate new strategies and ideas. Thought leaders have the skills and expertise to tap into knowledge, experience, and talent, and can ultimately be used as a competitive advantage.