Recently, I’ve heard of more and more organizations adding thought leadership into the job descriptions of their high performers. And well maybe that’s happened to you. You’re now expected to “do” thought leadership work on behalf of your organization on top of the rest of your activities.
Great. So, how do you become a good thought leadership practitioner?
I break thought leadership down into three core, interconnected roles: create, curate, and deploy. It’s important to understand what the organization is asking you to do.
The first is to create. When you create thought leadership, you’re responsible for peering around the corner into the future. You distinguish between signal and noise, and you see what’s important. You spend time doing environmental scans, deep thinking, and sense making.
The second role is to curate thought leadership. Someone who curates thought leadership decides what thought leadership the organization needs to be successful. If you’re curating thought leadership, you don’t have to be the ideas person yourself. You think strategically. What ideas need to be elevated? Who needs to hear them? How will they be communicated?
The third role is to deploy the thought leadership. These skills involve communicating the idea out into the world—traditional media, social media, speeches, pre-sales, sales engineering, white papers, videos, all of it!
So, if you see “thought leadership” within your job description, here are three smart questions to ask:
What percentage of my time is being allocated to thought leadership work?
Am I being asked to create, curate, or deploy thought leadership? and
What will success look like for me?
If you know the answers to these questions, you will be more successful as a thought leadership practitioner for your organization—whether you’re doing it full-time or as a fractional part of your overall responsibilities.