Making Mistakes in Thought Leadership

Org TL Minute: Episode 44


The practice of thought leadership is not a perfect science. We’re not clairvoyants with magical crystal balls that allow us to predict the future with a hundred percent accuracy. And that means, when we look around the corner into the future to spot risks and opportunities, we will make mistakes.

Not all of the issues that we raise will become relevant.

Some of our recommendations will be missteps.

It can be incredibly humbling to look back on our work as thought leadership practitioners and see the places where we were proved wrong.

So, what should we, as thought leadership practitioners, do?

First, we need to admit that we will make errors. When we peer around the corner, we will sometimes turn signal into noise and overlook something important. Or, we’ll amplify noise into signal.

Second, we need to reflect on our mistakes – be willing to look back on our predictions. What did we overestimate or underestimate? Where did we make that mistake? What can we learn from these errors?

Third, be willing to reflect publicly about our errors with our target audiences. And this step requires honesty and humility. If we predicted x, what caused y to come about?

It takes a lot of courage to be publicly open about our errors. Yet, owning our mistakes is a necessary—and human—part of thought leadership.