A Framework for Thought Leadership

How do you create good thought leadership?
And what can you do to make it even better?
Here’s a framework I created for thought leadership practitioners.

It’s called “The Four Elements of Thought Leadership.”

And I’ve used the framework to assess
the thought leadership of hundreds of
individuals and organizations.

So, let’s dig into the Four Elements of Thought Leadership.

💡 the Ideas:
— the core insights themselves
— can be summarized in a sentence or two
— when you share an idea, people say “aha! I see the world differently.”
— if you don’t have a strong idea, you don’t have thought leadership.

📚 the Content:
— your stories, data, and examples
— you use content to bring ideas to life, persuade, and convince
— you can customize your content for different audiences
— content needs to be put into a container (an offering)

🎁 the Offerings:
—the many different ways you package your ideas and content
—e.g., whitepaper, podcast, video, training course, speech, etc.
—an offering might be free or you may charge for them
—typically you need many offerings to reach your target audience

📦 the Platform:
— how others remember and refer your insights to others
—a sentence or two (at most).
—who are these ideas for?
—why should they care about them?
—a “platform” is to an idea as a “personal brand” is to an individual

When I evaluate a body of thought leadership, I see several very common patterns.

💡 The person/org has tons of half-finished ideas.
📚 There’s a lot of undocumented content in the expert(s)’ heads
🎁 New offerings are constantly built – without stopping to ask: who are they for? and how will they use them?
📦 The platform is vague and underdeveloped. Which makes it hard for ideas to scale.

If you want to learn more about the Four Elements of Thought Leadership,
You’ll find a downloadable document on my LinkedIn profile page.
Or DM me – and I’ll be happy to share it.


I write about:
#thoughtleadership#OrgTL, and #brand