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Thought Leadership

Top 10 Books for Thought Leadership: Fueling Change and Innovation

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Transformational change starts with transformational learning.

Are you ready to dive into a world of inspiration and transformation? In the world of project and program management, embracing thought leadership is a game-changer.

Navigating the vast landscape of thought leadership requires insight and wisdom, and that’s precisely where these top 10 books come into play. In this post, I’ll introduce you to a handpicked selection of thought-provoking books that will empower you to cultivate and amplify your thought leadership prowess.

So, let’s embark on this journey together, shall we?

1. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander:

What if every challenge was an opportunity for growth? “The Art of Possibility” beautifully paints this picture, inviting you to transform how you perceive obstacles and setbacks. Through captivating stories and transformative insights, this book offers a fresh perspective that will shift your mindset from limitations to boundless possibilities.

2. Start with Why by Simon Sinek:

Why do some leaders and organizations inspire while others don’t? Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” delves deep into the power of purpose-driven leadership. By understanding the fundamental question of “why,” you’ll fuel your thought leadership and align your projects with a compelling vision. As you navigate the complex change landscape, this book provides a compass to keep your projects on track and culture change at the forefront.

3. Drive by Daniel H. Pink:

What truly motivates us? “Drive” explores the science of motivation and its impact on human behavior. Understanding what drives individuals is paramount as you oversee your business and lead culture change. With insights from behavioral science, this book equips you to inspire and motivate your teams effectively, fostering a culture of innovation and growth.

4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg:

How can we shatter the glass ceiling and drive change? Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” is a manifesto for women in leadership, but its lessons extend to all who seek to challenge the status quo. As a corporate professional, fostering diversity and inclusion is pivotal for culture change. This book provides actionable strategies to dismantle barriers and pave the way for meaningful transformation.

5. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck:

What if your mindset could shape your success? Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” introduces the concept of fixed and growth mindsets. As you navigate the intricate landscape of project management and culture change, understanding how your mindset influences your actions can be a game-changer. This book equips you with the tools to cultivate a growth mindset that fuels innovation and resilience.

6. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant:

What if your uniqueness held the key to change? In “Originals,” Adam Grant explores the journey of unconventional thinkers who spark transformation. As a thought leader, embracing originality can propel your projects and culture change initiatives to new heights. This book inspires you to challenge the norm, disrupt the status quo, and drive meaningful impact.

7. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins:

What turns good into great? Jim Collins investigates the factors that elevate organizations to greatness. For Project and Program Managers, the journey from good to great involves aligning projects with strategic vision and nurturing a culture of excellence. This book offers insights to help you lead your teams toward remarkable outcomes.

8. “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together, and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek:

What separates exceptional teams from the rest? Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” delves into the chemistry of great groups and their leaders. As you manage projects and oversee culture change, understanding the dynamics of teamwork and trust is essential. This book unveils the principles that foster collaboration, loyalty, and a sense of purpose among your team members.

9. “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown:

How can vulnerability and courage shape leadership? Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead” explores the intersection of leadership and vulnerability. In the realm of project management and culture change, authentic communication and courageous leadership are paramount. This book equips you with the tools to create a culture of trust, empathy, and innovation.

10. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman:

How does our thinking influence decision-making? Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” delves into the two systems that drive our thought processes. As a thought leader, understanding the psychology behind decision-making can enhance your strategic thinking and problem-solving. This book offers insights that can revolutionize your approach to managing projects and driving culture change.

These ten books serve as your guide to thought leadership, offering a wealth of wisdom, strategies, and insights to empower you on your innovation and transformational journey. Remember, transformational change starts with transformational learning.

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Thought Leadership

Which Influential Thought Leaders Are Known For Productivity And Efficiency

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Pivotal Thought Leaders in the History of Productivity

Increasing productivity is essential for growing your business. The effectiveness of your workplace is not based on the number of hours people are working but on what they have accomplished at the end of the day. For over a century, inspired thought leadership around productivity has created innovative ways to increase efficiency.

Frederick Winslow Taylor

In 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor published his “Principles of Scientific Management.” In this book, he outlined what he had learned during a career that began as a machinist on a factory floor. Taylor noticed that no one in management was questioning the pace or procedures of workers. Instead, they assumed the current operating style was the best possible model.

Taylor developed a science of productivity, carefully examining daily tasks like coal shoveling and bricklaying for potential improvements. Some businesses credited his efforts with radically increasing productivity while lowering costs. Taylor’s thought leadership gave birth to the assembly line model of manufacturing.

Taiichi Ohno

Post-war Japan was struggling to become a serious power in the manufacturing industry. Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno looked at his company’s operating procedures and saw the wastefulness inherent in the process. To remedy this situation, he developed the concept of the Gemba walk.

In the Gemba process, managers walk through the entire assembly line regularly looking for friction points. They may interview workers at each station to learn their frustrations and gather their thoughts about improvements. Then, management uses this information to refine the process and eliminate waste.

While similar to Taylor’s work, Ohno lived in a time of faster technological advancement. He recognized that changes in technology at one station would require adjustments at every station. Increasing productivity would be a constant process, and he encouraged the Gemba walk as a frequent practice. His efforts became the start of the lean manufacturing movement.

David Allen

Frederick Winslow Taylor lamented that his efforts to increase productivity had not transferred to the knowledge workers of his day. David Allen’s productivity thought leadership is a step toward this goal. His 2001 book, “Getting Things Done,” focuses on personal rather than corporate productivity. Instead of physical processes, Allen develops strategies to tackle one of the most complicated systems of all, the human mind.

The impetus for his writing came from his frustration in trying to turn his ideas into actions. He notes that the brain is excellent at thinking and creating ideas, but retention is challenging. Unless you develop a system to capture your best thoughts as they happen, they will disappear as new concerns and distractions emerge during the day.

In his system, you create an unedited list of thoughts that require follow-up action as they arise. At least once a week, you will examine the list and sort it by importance. The concrete nature of this process helps you understand your priorities and values, encouraging you to pay attention to the tasks that matter most. 

Putting Productivity Insights to Work in the Real World

At the Productivity Intelligence Institute, we are fascinated by the insights of productivity thought leaders. It is amazing how a few intentional steps can transform a workplace. If you hope to improve the efficiency of your organization or need assistance increasing your productivity as an entrepreneur, we would be happy to help.

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Thought Leadership

How to Use Thought Leadership to Build Your Business Brand

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Build Your Company’s Brand With Thought Leadership 

Thought leaders promote discussion among their audience and direct conversations about trending topics in ways that provide value for everyone involved. By becoming a thought leader, you can distinguish your brand by making the public see your organization as something more than a simple provider of goods and services. In this competitive market, you need to make your business stand out in every way possible, so check out these four ways to bolster your organization’s thought leadership.

Expand Your Social Media Presence

According to a recent poll, the average person spends over two hours on social media platforms every day. This presents a great opportunity for your company to engage with people across the world. Your marketing professionals should maintain active social media accounts on as many platforms as possible, engage in relevant public discussions with other users, and make intelligent posts about hot issues to increase your company’s authority to the public.

Provide Evidence

You know that your company is good at what it does, but what have you done to make the public feel the same way? People value evidence more than ever before, so you need to leverage this attitude to position your organization as a leader in its field. You should reach out to popular bloggers and influencers, perform scientific tests on your products, and solicit endorsements from acclaimed professionals in the field to increase the credibility of your organization’s goods and services. When people associate your brand with quality, they’ll be more inclined to listen to your message and spread the word about your company.

Know Your Audience

To become a thought leader, you must understand your audience. Which aspects of your goods and services appeal to them? What traits do they respect and disrespect in a company? Where does your target audience spend their time? By learning about your organization’s most important clientele, you can tailor a message that resonates with them and makes the right people look up to your brand.

Regularly Produce High-Quality Content

A strong social media presence is integral to any organization’s success, but it isn’t the only factor contributing to your company’s status as a thought leader. To promote meaningful discussion and maintain public interest, your organization should produce engaging videos, insightful articles, and other content on topics that relate to your field and interest your audience. Combining exceptional content with an active social media presence will greatly strengthen your organization’s credibility in the collective consciousness.

Bring Your Company’s Message Into the Spotlight

Establishing your organization’s thought leadership can have a huge snowball effect that will contribute to your brand’s success. Whenever someone hears about people, products, or events in your field, their thoughts will naturally gravitate towards your organization’s goods and services. You want your company to succeed, so check out Productivity Intelligence Institute’s expert-level content for more ideas on how to reach a wider audience and improve your organization’s processes.

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Thought Leadership

How Thought Leadership Impact Demand Generation For Your Services 

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Businesses use thought leadership to position a company as an expert. According to the editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business, Joel Kurtzman, thought leaders are, “recognized by peers, customers and industry experts. They have distinctively original ideas, unique points of view and new insights.” Businesses employ thought leadership to increase awareness and improve credibility for demand generation, which means creating demand using different channels and techniques. This is how thought leadership impact demand generation for your services. 

Develop Trust 

Thought leadership requires trust, and to develop that, you must focus on reliability. Thought leaders must also be able to provide reliable information. 

In 2020, Edelman-LinkedIn performed a Thought Leadership Impact Study. The study determined that around 88% of decision makers in business believed that thought leadership increases consumer trust. This was especially true in B2B areas that featured lengthier sales cycles and higher budgets. 

Building a B2B thought leadership plan requires you to know who your audience is and what they want. Once you’ve narrowed that down, you can begin developing content strategy. Be sure to create content that tells your customers about the business. Keep in mind that a business’s brand is about more than the name, logo and the colors associated with it. A brand includes a business’s personality and voice. 

Connect with Your Audience 

Thought leadership doesn’t operate one way. Be sure to connect with your audience. Great connection platforms include popular social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. 

Determine what interests your audience. For instance, if someone asks a question on one of your social media sites, create a blog post around it or write a status update about it. Then, tag the person who asked or mention them in the content. When you give people time and maintain a conversation, you’ll create a positive connection with them. 

Keep in mind that these days, content and audience interaction mainly occur digitally. This shift is changing leadership development by making it easier for you to provide content more efficiently.  

Brainstorm Your Content 

Brainstorm about the kind of content your business can provide. Narrow down your best ideas and develop your content strategy around several important subjects. Consider performing a content assessment. This task will help you figure out content gaps and select topic ideas, ones that your team has yet to focus on. 

What is the Impact of Thought Leadership on Demand Generation? 

Establishing your business as an expert takes time and effort. To do this, you’ll need to stay current on your industry’s business trends. Also, forming a clear stance on industry-related situations and creating valuable content that reflects your proficiency are time-consuming endeavors. Is it worth it? According to a 2020 study on marketing and sales, it is. 

As long as you implement thought leadership wisely, you can make your business’s expertise available to your consumers. You can also support its reputation and trigger important conversations that increase demand. 

Making it Work 

Thought leadership impact demand generation by helping a business develop trust, improve its reputation and share its expertise. For help or guidance, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I can help. 

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Thought Leadership

What Makes a Thought Leader?

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No matter what business you’re in, becoming a thought leader is one of the best ways to achieve your long-term goals. What makes a thought leader, you ask? Simply put, a thought leader is someone who is widely recognized as a trusted authority in a particular field. Here are a few of the more common traits of thought leaders. 

A Clear Vision for the Future

Thought leaders are people who possess a strong vision of what the world will look like in a few years. They can paint a plausible picture of what could and should happen and how that will occur. You don’t have to be right 100% of the time to establish a reputation. 

Innovative Insights

Anyone can reformulate a prevailing opinion in their own words. Thought leaders buck the wisdom of the crowd and come up with fresh takes on current challenges that have eluded others. It only takes one or two truly good ideas to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Passion for One’s Area of Expertise

One thing that all thought leaders have in common is an uncommon passion for their visions. You can’t be a thought leader if you’re lukewarm on your own convictions. If you can’t get worked up about your goals, it’s unlikely that others will join you for the ride. 

Economy of Words When Conveying a Message

In many ways, thought leaders are salespeople when you get right down to it. You’re selling people on your ideas every time you open your mouth or fire off an e-mail. Keeping the message short, sweet and articulate is what makes a thought leader different from other commentators in many cases.

An Aptitude for Commanding Attention

Most thought leaders have an uncanny ability to capture the attention of an audience right out of the gate and never let go. Watch any Steve Jobs presentation and you’ll quickly see why he was so highly respected. A little bit of gravitas goes a long way when selling a vision.

The Ability to Foster Relationships

The most effective thought leaders understand that the relationship between them and their followers is a two-way street. Engaging skeptics and supporters alike is important if you want to be seen as an authority. Networking with other up-and-coming thought leaders is a great way to quickly raise your profile.

A Willingness to Court Controversy

Ground-breaking ideas aren’t always well received by the masses or even the intelligentsia when first introduced. Thought leaders aren’t afraid to mix things up from time to time by touting unorthodox notions. The most successful thought leaders are careful to avoid alienating their followings by being controversial for controversy’s sake.

Bringing It All Together

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all road map for becoming a thought leader. Nevertheless, employing a holistic approach that embraces the traits outlined above is a good way to start. The good news is that anyone can become a thought leader if they’re willing to put in the repetitions and hone their approach over time.

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Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership Trends For 2022

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During the last year, leaders have been dealing with added pressure such as the pressure to manage work disruptions, oversee teams remotely and hit moving targets. The recent pandemic has made it critical for leaders to be resilient and adaptive. Today, the most important thought leadership challenge is to determine how to perform under pressure in a world that’s becoming increasing unstable. Here are six thought leadership trends for 2022. 

1. Make Informed Decisions 

When leaders are under pressure, they must make decisions fast. Access to quality information will help you develop your decision making skills in dynamic environments when you have a lot at stake. It will also help you keep things in perspective when you start to feel stressed and allow you to keep your eye on the big picture while helping you avoid becoming lost in small struggles. 

You’ll want to think about investing in your company’s technology infrastructure. Determine what technology you need now and what you think will be needed in the future. Also, search for ways to create an agile system, one that is able to change with the company and the times. 

2. Reform Relationships 

For 2022, leadership is going to involve taking steps to reform relationships. The pandemic forced companies to shift away from in-person meetings that took an hour to complete to shortened 30-minute Zoom chats. Virtual became the norm as well. In 2022, leaders will need to look for opportunities to form deeper connections between themselves and workers within the company. If you don’t, some of your staff may become a part of the great resignation. 

Be sure to establish a work culture that embraces listening, consideration and inspiration. When you include these elements in your company’s culture, your people will feel more connected to the business and you. 

3. Review Inequalities within Your Organization 

A recent Gallup report found that an estimated 76% of workers experience job burnout from time to time while around 28% confirm that they experience burnout often or all the time. One of the biggest reasons for burnout is unfair treatment at the office. 

As a leader, it’s up to you to make sure that your workplace is as impartial and unbiased as possible. It can be tough to decide where to start. Often, inequality is built upon policies that are generations deep. The best place to start is with pay. Complete an evaluation of how your company compensates its staff. Consider every angle including role and gender as well as time at the company. 

4. Master Overseeing Your Staff in Multiple Locations 

Lockdowns have shown employees and managers what it’s like to work from home. People are seeing the advantages and challenges of the situation. Not only is it about the little things like remembering to mute yourself when talking to your kitty during a work Zoom meeting, but it is also about overseeing your staff remotely while adapting to a combination of work environments. 

Make sure that you know your employees and trust them. Avoid managing your staff in an investigative way. Don’t install software that surveils your people. If you do, it is likely to backfire. When supervisors set up surveillance software to watch their staff, workers lose trust in their organizations and will probably search for other places to work. 

Encourage your employees to work in multiple locations. For instance, support them when they want to work from home and in the office. Consider dedicating two or three days a week for staff to overlap in the office. When your people are onsite, they’ll be able to share information and collaborate more easily. At home, they may find it more convenient to catch up on emails and reports.  

5. A Need for Faster Learning

With more operational agility, employees and organizations will need to increase their learning pace. Professor Emeritus Chris Argyris published an article for the Harvard Business School in 1978. His paper was titled “Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective.” He wrote about the need for businesses to increase their adaption speed and offer continuous education for their staff. 

Today’s organizations are increasing automation. Workers who continue to advance their skills and learn new things will be qualified to take on different roles in the company. Employees who don’t have an interest in continuous learning may wind up underemployed or unemployed when their role becomes less needed. Do what it takes to prevent this from happening to your people. 

6. Accept a Wider Age Range when Hiring 

People continue to live longer, and this means that more people will be working as they grow older. Companies must consider ways to bring in and engage older employees. Organizations must also address the dynamics that occur when different generations work side by side. 

According to leadership trends, many companies are shifting away from age-based seniority and offering leadership roles to the best person for the job. Because of this, leadership positions will change more often. Tap into your creativity to encourage engagement and teamwork within various generations. 

This will help you identify and mentor talented managers quickly. While you will need to hire or promote people who are skilled in technology, you don’t need this talent in all of your workers. Consider people who are often overlooked. This might be individuals with disabilities or those who have been incarcerated. Become comfortable with a nontraditional workforce.  

An Eye on the Future  

As a leader, it’s important to focus on leadership trends and predictions for 2022. Don’t sit back and wait to see what happens. If you do, you’ll be unprepared. With the blending of technology changes, global interconnection and overall volatility, you’re facing both perils and opportunities from all fronts. If you need help with decision making or your leadership skills, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. 

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Thought Leadership

Secrets To Leading Others Through Influence To Get More Done With Less

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Choosing Influence over Authority to Do More with Less

For much of the twentieth century, businesses used a top-down approach to organization. Employees in an upper management position had authority over workers down the chain. In some cases, this arrangement led to tyrannical managers who used their power to hire and fire as leverage to get work done.

Flexing your authority may be a necessary tactic in a crisis, but more businesses are seeing the wisdom of developing influential leaders. Leaders with the soft skills to persuade and inspire are more likely to receive higher performance, greater commitment and longer tenures from their team members.

Traits of an Influential Leader

Some people are born leaders. They bring a charismatic personality along with the ability to articulate a clear vision. People are more receptive to a leader whom they like and admire. You may not have been born with all the traits of an influential leader, but you can develop them over time.

Passion

Leading others through influence involves passion. Your team members assume that you are an expert in your field who will do the necessary work with focus and zeal. Passion is contagious, and employees will mirror the enthusiasm of their leader.

Responsibility and Self-Motivation

In a top-down authority structure, those beneath the leader typically receive the blame for failed projects. Influential leaders take responsibility for their mistakes and work with the team to grow from them. Such leaders know how they fit into the organization, and the rest of the team can count on them to honor their commitments.

Self-Awareness

Influential leaders know their limits and hire employees accordingly. They have the confidence necessary to admit when someone else on the team has expertise. In this way, they demonstrate how to lead a leader and cultivate leadership within the team. 

Engagement

There can be a fine line between micromanagement and engagement. Influential leaders are aware of how a project is unfolding, but they do not control every step. Often, the leader gathers information by asking questions in an informal conversation with employees rather than disrupting the day with formal meetings.

A Role Model

Influential leaders provide leading examples for their teams. By reliably carrying out their parts of projects, they develop credibility and trust. Engaging other team members with a hands-off approach fosters an atmosphere of creativity and productivity.

We dug deep into Jack Canfield’s $1 billion mind to find the secret to his Effortless Success

Traits of an Influence-Centered Workplace

Your workplace culture will reflect the example you set as a leader. An office is a place of business, but it does not need to be a place that employees endure for the sake of a paycheck. Influential leaders develop an atmosphere that brings the best performance from staff members.

Low-Stress Culture

Strong, authority-centered structures tend to use fear and anger as motivators. Employees will meet goals to avoid negative consequences. In this workplace, employees frequently trigger the stress response as they try to struggle with tight deadlines or quotas. Work is exhausting, and they can hardly wait to leave at the end of the day.

Low stress does not mean unproductive. Instead of fear, employees work with a shared vision. The influential leader sets the example, and the others follow. Leaders who listen will also acknowledge the realities of life. Long-term employees should not be nervous about asking for extra time to do a better job.

Empowering Curiosity and Creativity

In a low-stress environment, employees have the freedom to experiment in ways that can improve productivity. One of the most important leading examples is acknowledging mistakes and failures gracefully. Influential leaders know that failure can teach as many lessons as success. Employees in such a workplace are encouraged to learn more about their fields and look for innovative solutions to daily problems.

Positive Atmosphere

Neurological hormones shape the way that people feel. The anxiousness of stress stems from hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Feelings of satisfaction and reward come from the release of dopamine and serotonin. When employees feel appreciated and know that they are engaged in meaningful work, it triggers these positive hormones. As employees begin to associate positive feelings with the workplace, they will grow in enthusiasm for their jobs.

Growth Mindset

Influential leaders recognize that things can always be better. They are constantly on the lookout for ways to streamline processes and encourage team members to embrace innovation. Instead of dwelling in the comfort of what they have always done, they seek innovation to do it better.

Group Process

In an influence-centered workplace, team members trust that their opinions matter. They are free to discuss and even disagree with leadership. The group recognizes that every team member brings different gifts and expertise.

Secrets for Establishing Your Influence

Leading others effectively requires improving your soft skills and reframing your understanding of authority. Pursuing these changes will improve the productivity and general atmosphere of your business.

Listen to Your Staff

People are willing to listen when they feel heard. There is much more to the life of an employee than what you read on a job application. When an employee speaks to you, put down whatever else you are doing and pay respectful attention. 

Observe Patterns and Preferences

As you move from station to station at your workplace, take time to notice what is happening. How do your employees approach the task at hand? Some people are content when working alone, and others thrive with a partner. Employees will feel appreciated when you take these natural patterns into account.

Align Their Passions with Your Vision

Once you learn more about your staff members, it is time to bring them on board with your vision. If you can make connections with your mission and their passions, you will find that there is greater excitement about the job. Rather than employees who work for you, you will develop team members who promote your vision.

A Helpful Resource for Leading Others

At the Productivity Intelligence Institute, my focus is on helping entrepreneurs become the best leaders they can be. If you wonder how to lead a leader or grow in your personal leadership style, I can provide tools and training to get you on your way. Feel free to reach out for an initial consultation.

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Thought Leadership

What Is Thought Leadership?

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Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was criticized for the platform’s growth of hate speech and misinformation. As part of the company’s self-examination, they changed their mission statement to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” At the same time, the company expanded the abilities of its Groups feature to encourage positive community discussions. This thought leadership example shows the power of letting a new idea or mission shape the efforts of a business.

The need for a different kind of leadership is emerging. There has been a transition from profit and productivity-centered businesses to a mission-centered model. Entrepreneurs are looking for leaders who can help them define and share the purpose of their organizations as a way to inspire both employees and clients.

A Simple Thought Leadership Definition

Businesses crave people with leadership skills. In the past, leadership has focused primarily on productivity. A business leader was someone who could help a team accomplish its assigned tasks. While these skills are still essential, thought leadership is more about leading people to insights into the “why” of a business or industry.

A basic thought leadership definition is someone who brings innovative ideas to a business sector. Through both study and experience, this person is an expert in their field. At their best, thought leaders do not simply give answers or share information, but they help people make new connections that lead to innovations. Thought leadership may begin at the local business level, but a thought leadership example such as Tony Robbins or Christy Wright demonstrates how this role can garner international attention.

A Neuroscientific Approach to Thought Leadership

As businesses pursue a mission-oriented focus, they need leaders who can change the culture of an organization. Cultivating meaningful change is a difficult task because human brains are wired to prefer the routine and expected. A cultural shift at the workplace means helping people navigate through the discomfort of change.

Helping to Navigate the Pain of Change

The human brain likes to operate on autopilot. Many of the tasks you perform each day happen without much conscious thought. How often do you think intentionally about brushing your teeth or taking a shower? How many times have you taken the same route to work without noticing what happens along the way? Doing things by habit establishes neurological pathways that conserve your mental energy.

This system is excellent when you are working with healthy, productive habits. Yet, negative habits also establish neurological connections. If you have ever tried to break an unhealthy habit, you know how challenging it can be. Disrupting mental patterns creates physical discomfort and stress.

When faced with an unexpected challenge, the primitive part of your brain treats it as an unknown threat. It releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. As a result, your heart beats faster, and your blood pressure rises. Your body is preparing for a classic fight or flight response.

This pattern also applies to changes in the workplace. Even when a workflow process is inefficient, employees may feel threatened if it is not their standard routine. Thought leaders in the workplace do not command the change. They help employees discover the benefits of a new system on their own. This personal enlightenment significantly reduces the stress of the transition.

Reinforcing Connections

It takes time and repetition to establish new neurological pathways. A common leadership mistake is assuming that a single exposure to a new idea is enough. Many business leaders have had the experience of attending a conference and feeling inspired by what they learn. However, by the time they get back to the office, they have forgotten what was so attractive. Instead, they return to the familiar way of doing things.

Adopting new ideas required actionable steps as well as a clear presentation. If an office is making a significant cultural shift, thought leaders must find ways to reinforce the philosophy. Employees will need reminders of how a new product, feature, or system aligns with a new mission. They will also require periodic reminders to keep from slipping back into old habits.

Developing a Successful Thought Leadership Strategy

Recognition as a thought leader happens over time. People need to see that your ideas work and can create meaningful change. The first step in your thought leadership strategy will be emerging as a leader in your local organization.

Future Mapping
Future Mapping reverses existing ideas on goal achievement. It is a remarkable technology for problem-solving, creativity, and innovation.

Becoming a Thought Leader at Your Business

Thought leadership begins with knowledge. Whatever your primary field, you want to be an expert who knows the latest ideas. Developing your knowledge base means reading and studying leaders in your industry. You want to be the person whom your company consults when they need information about current trends.

However, authentic thought leadership is more than the ability to pass on relevant facts or trends. Part of a thought leader’s skillset is interpreting and sharing information that leads to effective change. The leader presents information in a way that allows listeners to make personal connections. Eliciting an “Aha!” moment from an audience is much more effective at shaping neural pathways.

Increasing Your Impact as a Thought Leader

When you successfully fulfill this role at your business, you might consider broadening your audience. Every industry needs thought leaders who will guide businesses through times of change. The ability to synthesize and present a vision can change the direction of your entrepreneurial career. Talented thought leaders are in demand as conference speakers, authors, and consultants.

Creating Thought Leadership Content

The transition from a local entrepreneur to an industry thought leader requires effort. People tend to put greater trust in names they recognize. However, when you consistently produce quality thought leadership content, it will not be long until you have a following.

Establish Your Mission

Before you set out to become a thought leader, it is helpful to think about your reason for this pursuit. The best leaders combine passion, knowledge, and purpose.

Commit to the Process

Even if you are a talented writer, a single article will not recognize your need to move forward. The pace of change in business moves too rapidly for any text to have a long shelf life. You must commit to expanding your knowledge and producing frequent content.

Start Writing

Most thought leaders begin by writing. Do not let worries about stylistic perfection slow you down. Start writing about a subject that inspires your passion, and let other people see it. You will not begin with a large audience, so it is crucial to get feedback from your local colleagues. As you produce more content, it increases the possibility of someone sharing the information beyond your immediate circle.

The Power of Speech

Public speaking is another important aspect of this pursuit. As your reputation increases, people will want to hear from you at conferences and other events. Holding seminars at your current place of business can give you helpful experience in speaking with a crowd and handling Q&A sessions.

Blogs and Social Media

Changing the way that people think involves reinforcement and repetition. Online forums like blogs and social media allow you to present your message more frequently and differently. In a blog, you can share your important message and stories about successful applications of your way of thinking.

The Consulting Leader

When a business struggles to stay relevant, it may seek advice from a thought leader. Consultation is an opportunity to put your ideas to practical use. The successful application of your advice will lead to more occasions to grow as a thought leader.

Developing Your Thought Leadership Skills

What is thought leadership? It is a way of thinking that helps people understand the “why” of their businesses. If you are fascinated by thought leadership in the way that I am, you can reach out to the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I would be pleased to help you on your thought leadership journey.

Workplace Jazz

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Thought Leadership

Why is thought leadership important?

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Unlocking the Benefits of Thought Leadership

Whatever your industry, there are some voices that you cannot ignore. When an industry leader tweets or blogs, you will drop what you are doing and pay attention. You may not always agree with the person’s conclusions, but you will take them seriously. This kind of influence demonstrates the power of thought leadership. 

What is thought leadership?

The definitions of thought leadership vary. Thought leaders are often social media influencers, but they are not primarily concerned with self-promotion. They are experts in their fields, but they garner more attention than the average analyst or researcher. 

Thought leaders have a reputation for sharing new ideas and predicting trends. Although they have an expansive knowledge of an industry’s past and its current state, they are predictive voices that point out the direction of the industry. When businesses want insight into the future, they will turn to the valued opinions of thought leaders.

The Benefits of Thought Leadership

Being regarded as a thought leader brings several advantages. Thought leaders regularly share content through blogs, articles and speaking engagements. If you engage in these practices, you have already created a relationship with potential clients. They know your voice and way of thinking, and they will have respect for your opinion.

As you grow as a thought leader, it will become easier to make connections. Industry leaders will look to you for opinions and advice. These relationships will benefit everyone involved.

Secrets to Developing as an Influential Thinker

All definitions of thought leadership give priority to the act of thinking. People expect this person to add valuable content to industry discussions. Before you become a thought leader, you must learn to develop creative ideas.

Know Your Niche

It is difficult to be a generalist and a thought leader. In most industries, there is too much information for any one person to follow. Find the portion of your market that you are most passionate about and put your focus there. As you develop relationships with other leaders, your ideas will make connections across the industry.

Keep Learning

Education is essential to this path. People trust your voice because you can demonstrate your expertise. You will need to spend time looking for the latest information about your niche.

Develop Your Point of View

As a thought leader, people are not seeking you out simply because of what you know. Online research will give them the information they need. They are looking for someone who can put the pieces of the puzzle together. While you will use data to inform and support your point of view, people look to deep thinkers for their ability to share a vision.

Make Connections

To become an industry leader, you must gain the respect of other industry leaders. In the early stages, you will want other leading thinkers to cite your content. They are more likely to follow you if you have made a point to connect with them at conferences or through social media.

Secrets to Engaging in Thought Leadership

Thought leadership must be more than deep thinking. If your innovative ideas never make it off your desk, you may be a thinker or a dreamer, but you are not a leader.

Consider Practical Applications

You have combed through the industry literature and developed a new way to think about your niche. Now you must consider the practical applications. How can a business owner put your ideas to work beneficially? When you share your thoughts, it is a good practice to include steps for implementation.

Model Your Approach

If you are an entrepreneur, your business can be a laboratory for practical innovation. Explain the nature of your experiment to your team members so that they can share feedback about new processes or organizational changes. This will not only help you refine your ideas but will also encourage a culture of innovative thinking in your workplace.

Develop Regular Content

Regular content is the main way that thought leaders share information. With online publishing forums like eBooks, blogs and social media, it is easy to get your thoughts into the world.

However, being recognized as a thought leader takes time. It may take a series of blog posts or articles before people start paying attention outside your local area. Developing a regular publishing schedule will create a sense of anticipation in your audience. 

Invite, Don’t Sell

In several surveys, top business leaders have shared their opinions about online content. Their common desire is to read innovative thoughts that are specific to their industries. They will skip past generic copy that does not add anything new.

Self-promotion is another issue. As soon as the article becomes focused on the author, they will set it aside. As a thought leader, your opinions and vision are your calling card. When you share information that gives value to the reader, the content will market itself.

Growing as a Leading Thinker

What is thought leadership? It is turning your passion and knowledge into valuable industry insights. If you are looking for ways to improve your thinking process or share your ideas, contact the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I would be thrilled to work with you and help you unlock the benefits of thought leadership.

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Thought Leadership

What Is An Industry Leader?

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What Defines an Industry Leader?

If you set only one goal for the new year, make it your goal to become a leader in your industry. That doesn’t mean becoming the biggest company on the block. It means opening yourself up to a fresh way of thinking. Developing the skills that propel you to business leadership is key to securing your company’s future.

How to Recognize an Industry Leader

The Cambridge Dictionary defines an industry leader as a business that’s “considered the most effective in its industry, for example, because it sells more products, makes more profit, or has a better-known brand than its competitors.”

How well do you fit that profile? Are you standing out in your industry for your success or your brand? If you’re not, spend some time reflecting on the qualities of an outstanding leader. How many of these qualities can you develop?

Leadership Qualities

You can learn essential management lessons from outstanding leaders. Most of them have the following five qualities.

  1. They are skilled listeners. Leaders value input from all sources, and they listen to everyone.

  • You can count on them. A leader is a trusted advisor who will have your back and give you their full support.

  • They keep it simple. A true leader can cut to the core of an issue and make it easy to grasp.

  • Leaders don’t make excuses. They accept faults and focus on the future.

  • They start early in the morning. Merely changing your schedule can have a significant impact on your success.

If you follow the careers of well-known industry executives, successful coaches, inspiring preachers, and others who excel, you’ll see they consistently show these characteristics.

Business Leadership Requires the Right Mindset

Your mindset is one of the most essential leadership qualities to hone. After all, your mindset determines the vision you bring to any organization.

In an article for Inc., Marcel Schwantes writes that “Leaders need to work first on themselves and become the change. Then leaders must create the cultural conditions that encourage others to do the same. We don’t change others; we change ourselves.”

Ryan Gottfredson and Chris Reina have studied successful business leaders. In an article for Harvard Business Review, they summarized their research. They concluded that “Mindsets are leaders’ mental lenses that dictate what information they take in and use to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. Mindsets drive what leaders do and why.”

To Be a Great Leader, You Need the Right Mindset

What are the specific mindsets these leaders cultivate? Well, the following are the primary ones.

  • Growth mindset: People with this mindset believe their employees can learn new skills and new talents.

  • Learning and performance mindset: A person with this mindset always seeks to master new skills and increase personal competence.

  • Deliberative mindset: If you have this mindset, you are good at absorbing information and changing a company’s direction.

  • Promotion mindset: Leaders with promotion mindsets encourage themselves and others to achieve goals.

Real-Life Examples of Business Leadership

You can see these mindsets in action if you follow the careers of successful industry leaders.

Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, once said, “If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we’re going to have better business success.” Barra’s growth mindset allowed GM to become one of the top automakers in the country.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has stated, “The one thing that I would say that defines me is I love to learn.” In his book about stepping in to run the software giant, Nadella described how he used a performance mindset to revamp the company’s leadership style. Since he took over in 2014, Microsoft has become even more profitable.

I Can Help You Become an Industry Leader

It’s never too late to foster leadership qualities in yourself. At the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, I’ve used Rosenbluth Travel as a case study. This small, family-owned company had used a top-down management style for decades. After some initial resistance, they shifted to an employee-focused leadership style. Today, the company is a market leader and the top independent agency in the travel industry.

Are you interested in developing your leadership qualities? You can become an industry leader by developing the mindset of a leader. If you need help with any aspect of successful entrepreneurship, contact me at the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute.