Monday, November 7, 2011

Three keys to being a Thought Leader

I've never heard my children (or anyone else's for that matter) say "I want to be a thought leader when I grow up".  No, at first they want to be an astronaut, a president or famous, and later, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, a veterinarian  a dancer, a musician, but never "a thought leader".  There are no job titles specific to thought leaders. Very rarely, if ever, will you see it as a required or beneficial skill on a job description.  It will never show up as a check-box on an annual review form.  In fact, thought leadership is rarely "a claim" and much more often by "acclaim".

What do thought leaders do?  Obviously, they have interesting thoughts that cause others to think, most often, differently than they have thought before.  Have you ever seen thinking on a job description?  But it isn't even necessary that they be the first to have the thought (Xerox was working on usability long before Apple).  Just that they communicate it in ways that others can understand and think about it, or implement it in ways ways that are successful. Most weren't successful on their first try, or with there first attempt to communicate their thoughts.  They kept trying over and over (Edison is reported to have tried thousands of times before he came up with the right wire for the light bulb.).

I don't know many thought leaders that set out to be "thought leaders".  Some of them got there accidentally.  They weren't always happy accidents, some of them were very sad.  Sometimes they just had a really good idea and kept working at it, sometimes for many years before they were acknowledged.

There are three things common to all of them though:

  1. Think
  2. Communicate
  3. Persevere

Just a thought.



  1. I think perseverance is the most important trait a person (not only a leader) should have. If everything is done in the correct time, errors can be eliminated. That's because time well-spent can create thoughts that are well-deliberated.

  2. Thanks for the perk and inspiration to keep on doing what I'm doing that this post gave me!