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The Shelf Life of Ideas in Thought Leadership

Org TL Minute: Episode 53


What’s the expiration date on a good idea? I think that all too often, we as thought leadership practitioners, shift our focus way too soon.

And that’s a critical mistake. Because ideas are fresh and relevant to our target audiences much longer than we think.

Now, items such as fresh sashimi, well that needs to be consumed almost immediately.

And fresh baked bread will last a few days, maybe even a week.

Yet, ideas are different. A good idea shouldn’t “turn” or go moldy within a short amount of time.

If you’re busy chasing a story in the news cycle, or if you’re following a fad in business, you’re probably not practicing thought leadership.

Thought leadership has a shelf life much longer, similar to flour or even olive oil. I’ve seen the best ideas in thought leadership remain fresh for years.

And I’ve even heard a story from a thought leadership practitioner who spent twenty years from an idea in his first book before it became popular in the general business lexicon.

And now, it’s a hot topic today.

All too often I think, we—as thought leadership practitioners—get a little intellectually bored. We’re eager to move on to the next idea. We want to explore something new. But that curiosity and eagerness for the new undermines our success. We abandon existing ideas before our audiences have embraced them. We take ideas off the shelves just as they’re starting to become interesting to our audiences.

As thought leadership practitioners, we ready to repeat our ideas again and again. They’ve got a much longer shelf life than we expect.”

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