Thought Leadership Perfectionism

Org TL Minute: Episode 10


How can you accelerate the time-to-market for your thought leadership? Over my career, I’ve seen many individuals and organizations struggle with this question due to what I call “thought leadership perfectionism”.

It comes in several different forms.

Some people get wrapped up in ideas themselves. Like master gem-cutters, they meticulously refine every facet of the idea, until it shines with brilliance. Then, and only then, will they be ready to share it with their target audience.

Others put most of their effort into long-form prestige formats such as books, whitepapers, and studio quality videos. And these modalities are great but take a lot of time and effort to produce.

There’s a third form of thought leadership perfectionism.

One that we rarely talk about. We often use a cascading “waterfall” production methodology for thought leadership. And we include way too many touchpoints and review cycles before the piece is ready to be seen by any member of the target audience.

This thought leadership perfectionism will work against you when you have a time-bound objectives such as filling this month’s sales pipeline; showing competitive strength in a client proposal; or influencing what your target audience is talking about today.

You know, I think we can learn a lot from other professions that have embraced “fail fast” mindsets. Agile teams work in sprints and Lean Six Sigma master blackbelts find opportunities for continuous improvement. So, this week, here’s a small challenge for you. Think of an idea you want to get into the world faster.

What’s the “Minimum Viable Thought Leadership” needed to get the idea out there?

Then, embrace rapid prototyping. How can you test quickly and informally? You might use a podcast, a client chat, a tweet, or an infographic. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.