Director of Thought Leadership & Innovation, Manpower Group, The Netherlands
There’s a big difference between the man who says he’s funny and the man who actually makes you laugh. Thought leadership is like that too. It is not about what you think of yourself, it’s about how others see you.
Why would an organisation aim to be looked upon as a thought leader? If the goal is commercial, to increase sales and profit, you start by really listening to your customers as well as empathising with them. Based on this knowledge, you are then able to create interesting content for them and consequently become the go-to organisation on that expertise. However, thought leadership can be much more than providing relevant knowledge for your customers.
As a thought leader you can make a difference by leading the way with a novel point of view that leads to new insights and genuine change, and which demonstrates you have a mission beyond making profit. This is why asking yourself the following questions will lead to a greater achievement. Who are we as a company? Why are we here? Do we have a goal, other than making profit? What are we willing to sacrifice to achieve this goal? After questioning your own goals and intentions, it is time to examine the world around you. What is happening in society? Where is there room for improvement? What is our viewpoint? Can we find a novel point of view for the company? One that is genuine and appeals to our employees? And if we succeed in finding this, what will we encounter along the way? Who will support us? Who won’t?
Being a thought leader should not be a company’s ambition. Being part of a genuine societal change by creating new insights through a novel point of view should be.
If you are passionate about this, you will find followers both within and outside of your organisation to accompany you on your journey.