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Your Good Ideas Aren’t Enough. How to Get Them to Reality

It’s genuinely hard to take an idea to scale and produce impact.
But that’s the work at the heart of organizational thought leadership.

Ideas don’t reach scale on their own.
And that’s one of the biggest challenges when you practice thought leadership for your organization.

Sadly, trumpets don’t proclaim the arrival of a good idea.
They don’t get ushered in on a red carpet with VIP treatment.

In every organization, good ideas struggle to gain attention and momentum.

That’s because good ideas need to be located, shepherded, and evangelized.

  • Smart people naturally struggle to recognize their own best insights.
  • Managers and leaders spend less time looking for disruptive ideas.
  • Marketing and sales focus on the immediate pipeline and opportunities.

I’m reminded of the poet T.S. Eliot, who once wrote:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the Act
Falls the Shadow1

And so, our work as thought leadership practitioners lies in that “Shadow” – the space between idea and reality.
Between insight and impact.

Thought leadership serves a dual purpose within the organization—it must align with today’s organizational goals.
We must be able to answer the question, “Why are we doing this?” when our senior leaders and our colleagues across the organization ask.
And we need to be able to do this, today.

Yet, thought leadership is also an investment in the organization’s future.
In that way, it’s very similar to an ongoing investment in research and development.
It’s focused building opportunities and creating impact in the future.

Without people to guide ideas through that space, they tend to get lost and never reach the light of day. Or to put it another way:

  • What we measure gets managed
  • What’s managed tends to happen

An organization can’t rely on luck for good ideas to reach reality. That’s the work of a Head of Thought Leadership.
And it requires strategy, systems, and processes.

How many good ideas has your org shepherded through the Shadow?
And what can you do to increase your success rates and have more good ideas reach scale?

If you’d like to do a “get to know each other” or catch-up call with me, , here’s a link to my calendar.

I’d love to talk shop about thought leadership with you.

Bill Sherman
Co-Founder |Org TL