Thought leadership is like a captaining a boat. It requires navigation, control, and purpose.
Many executives seek to be considered a thought leader in their industry, but they lack the vision and significance within the space to claim the title. Among the sea of executives who proclaim themselves thought leaders, only those who show they have their finger on the pulse of burning issues by contributing meaningful commentary will be seen as such. Seventy percent of consumers get information about businesses and products from articles – not by sifting through advertisements. Experts who contribute thoughtful dialog are able to develop a following and are sought after for their acumens.
Executives can give input or predictions about their industry’s changing landscape by tapping into audiences who are already waiting to hear expert opinions relating to these topics of interest. Staying relevant and in touch is crucial and as an industry leader, executives need to stay afloat with their audiences even if the tide changes and especially when a crisis arises. Here are three points of advice to keep industry experts sailing on smooth waters:
Offer a fresh perspective. If you follow other vessels while navigating, the wind trails affect your path. The winning spot is always ahead of the others and in a solo lane. The same goes for thought leadership; 46 percent value fresh thinking in it. Forward-thinking executives garner more attention and recognition by identifying and examining issues or challenges from different perspectives. Whether gathering intel from blogs, videos, articles, or social media, you must be at the forefront of an industry and to offer a unique point of view worthy of an expert.
Embrace change. Wind is a considerable sailing factor and can cause more damage if it’s fought instead of embraced. New industry trends develop continuously and can be a subtle change or a massive overhaul of an existing trend. In any instance, your position could change, and it’s best to embrace. As a thought leader, you are only as effective as your ability to adapt. Second to fresh thinking, 32 percent value forward thinking in thought leadership. Stakeholders look to thought leaders with the ability to interpret and master new trends.
Build relationships. A thought leader must be commanding as well as collaborative. On a boat or in business, it’s easy to focus on what is next instead of what is in front of you. Thought leaders can establish a connection with an audience by engaging with customers and answering questions. The sole focus should not be sharing information but establishing a deeper connection.
Now, before all you landlubbers dive into thought leadership, there is one thing to remember. The most influential thought leaders were not born, they were created, and it wasn’t overnight.
For more information on how we help executives establish themselves as driving forces in their industry, contact us.