Not just a Book Coach, Mindy Gibbins-Klein is a successful author herself; it was her book writing experience that led to The Book Midwife’s creation. In 24 Carat Bold, Mindy calls would-be leaders to take a leap of faith and boldly rise to the challenge of inspiring and leading others. The book’s aim is to inspire and empower people to become thought leaders which will reward them with more business, higher fees, recognition, better client loyalty and a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.
We will be posting a series of blogs that cover the topics discussed throughout the book. Your comments are most welcome.
So what is thought leadership anyway? An article in the Financial Times gave this definition:
‘The ability to develop and communicate pioneering and rigorous ideas that are relevant to society and influence people’s behaviour’.
This could be far more detailed and precise and 24 Carat Bold is a response to the term’s (mis)use and (mis)understanding and aims to give context, criteria and strategies to REAL thought leadership.
This may be a good place to clarify what is NOT thought leadership.
Celebrity culture is so flawed because it celebrates the wrong things. Young people are now aspiring to be a celebrity rather than pursuing more realistic and worthwhile pursuits. However, being famous for fame’s sake does not a thought leader make.
Size does not determine leadership either. Large old companies cannot easily adapt to change and are now commonly overtaken by younger, more innovative and dynamic companies. On the flipside, being small doesn’t make a company exceptional either. So, there is absolutely no correlation between the size of company and its thought leadership quotient.
Imitators, bullies and boastful wannabe leaders have no claim to thought leadership. Substance is always important.
So is thought leadership really necessary? Absolutely and more so than ever. In today’s world we are faced with unprecedented challenges and extreme economic problems. These have brought the need for some serious new thinking and we need thought leaders to step up to the plate and resolve these challenges.
Further, as we are increasingly overwhelmed with the barrage of information the internet and social media offers, thought leadership is more important. A new batch of thought leaders must take our society to the next phase of its evolution and bring the kind of transformation that is so sorely needed.
Do you have the motivation to be a thought leader?
Use your ego. It is good to have high self esteem and we all have a healthy need to feel important. As long as your ego is not the primary driver of your actions and as long as it doesn’t lead to putting others down in order to make you feel superior, then an ego is nothing to be ashamed of.
Potential thought leaders need to let go of the traditional British (and negative) attitude of ‘blowing your own trumpet’. If it feels unnatural, then you need to find a way to promote yourself; it’s basic marketing. You can always outsource the campaign and have others manage your PR, but you will have to guide it to the desired outcome.
You want recognition. We can all get quite annoyed when others receive undeserved recognition. There are two options, be bitter about others who are less talented than you getting all the publicity and attention, or get out there and develop a strategy to become someone who attracts publicity, interest and business.
You want to leave a legacy. Most of us want to make our mark on the world. Nobody likes to think they didn’t produce anything important during their lifetime, that their life didn’t matter. How strong is your desire to leave a legacy of some kind? This determines how motivated you are to establishing your thought leadership.
You want to influence. An essential skill of a good leader is the ability to influence people. The majority of people in leadership roles not only like to influence others but they are good at it and know how to exert the influence in the right way. With a position of power comes the responsibility of influence and you can’t walk away from your sphere of influence; it is always there.
So, to conclude, you can’t buy your way to leadership, no matter how much you spend on advertising and marketing. Cream naturally rises to the top of the milk and thought leaders rise or emerge to the top in all spheres of life—our communities, businesses, politics and consciousness. With a clear idea of what a Thought Leader is and when your motivation to be one is clear; it is entirely possible to take that leap of faith and rise.