Many thought leadership practitioners undervalue the importance of relationships. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with thought leadership practitioners, and I can confidently say that relationships are an essential part of our work.
The thought leadership practitioners who excel at taking their ideas to scale are often masters of relationships. They know how to invite others into the projects they’re working on. They’re great collaborators. They know how to shine the spotlight on others. And how to make time to encourage others.
I’ve seen heads of thought leadership, purposefully build relationships from the C-suite all the way down to frontline sales and customer support. Why? Because they know that those connections will help them scale their ideas further and faster.
Additionally, I’ve seen practitioners within an organization spot an issue that’s too large for them or even their own organization to address. And they reach out to others that they know in other organizations to point out the issue, exercise convening authority, and rally people together to solve an issue.
When you’re early in your work as a thought leadership practitioner, your existing network will help you attract followers. It will also help you recruit allies who can open doors for you, and ambassadors who will speak on your behalf.
As your reputation grows, others will reach out to you. Your relationships create opportunities. And they will seek you out for the ideas that you’re known for — as well as the problems that you’ve shown you can solve.
You know it’s easy to fall in love with marketing metrics. We all like simple numbers, such as: reach, the number of views, likes, and even comments. But really on a much deeper level, relationships are what help fuel an idea to reach scale.
Who are the people that could help you take your idea to scale? And what are you doing to nurture that relationship? How much time and energy are you investing?