I am a leader of thoughts! Eurgh, ‘thought leadership’ is a dreadful corporate phrase that is largely meaningless when determining if what you’re about to read is insightful, original or cleverly observational. Too often it is noisy PR, dictated by the boss to build their profile. An echo chamber would be too kind to some of the so-called thought leadership pieces I’ve read over the years, as many simply don’t get read by anyone.
However, a rebrand is what’s needed rather than throwing out the format entirely. Despite the dross often dressed up as ‘thought leadership’, I believe the sharing of opinions and insights from a diverse group is essential. Now more than ever. The uncertain future is not a problem to be solved by each agency in isolation, but as a collective: sharing experiences, building on each other’s ideas and moving beyond words to real actions.
This does run the risk of a firehose of ‘opinions’, so let’s all heavily edit ourselves, please. We most definitely need fewer and better.
A few rules to help:
Only put pen to paper if you believe you have a real insight to share with the world. You must contribute by moving the conversation on in some way, not just commenting on what we all know.
The best pieces should lead to an action, ensuring you are not just part of the noise. And you must let the best ideas shine, regardless of the writer’s position in the company.
This last one is important. The chance to share a bloody great idea should never be the sole domain of the business chiefs. Instead, we need a more meritocratic environment to allow other voices to come forward and create a culture where ideas are celebrated not just status.
Thought leadership reveres the person; we need a shift to make the ideas and creative inspiration the real stars of the show.