What does it take to launch a new thought leadership function within your organization?
I’ve spoken with many organizations that have been on this journey, and here are five tips that I’d like to offer.
First, find a passionate executive who’s willing to see thought leadership become an owned and managed process within the organization.
Second, locate a seasoned leader. Someone in a related field. Someone who knows the organization. You can look in marketing, strategy, public policy, exec communications or research, just to name a few fields. Ask them to take this on as part of their role, either full time, or part time.
Third, the executive champion and the head of thought leadership should jointly sit down and establish clear objectives tied to measurable business goals. Vague goals will lead to misunderstandings and unsatisfying results.
Fourth, give the new team time, budget, and runway. They will likely need to develop new processes and ways of working from scratch. Don’t expect results overnight.
And then, fifth, proactively introduce the team to their colleagues. Explain what the thought leadership function will be doing, and how they will help the organization.
Like standing up any new product or process team, it takes a calm, confident executive sponsor to integrate this new function into the overall organization. If you follow these tips, you’re much more likely to have a smooth launch and achieve return on investment for your organization.
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