Thought leadership without the doing is just thinking.
The I’ve been trying to answer the question what makes a thought leader? What is “thought leadership?” How does someone become a thought leader? One of my mentors told me, “It’s all about how you share the information. Are you sharing it to teach people, or to hear yourself?”
Here are 16 ideas of how to contribute your thinking. Leading is a bit more of an audience participation thing, but you CAN focus on yourself and refining your message.
- Blog -If you are not putting your “thinking” and “doing” down in writing, Google is not going to to know you exist.
- Twitter – It’s fine, but make sure you know what you want from twitter, to me, Twitter is about establishing a “voice” rather than shouting a sales message.
- Participate – Where do you spend time online? What sites do you visit frequently? What is it about Facebook that has made it the 2nd largest destination site in the world? (Do you know who is #2? Hint: The site is owned and operated by a telecom and they don’t speak English anywhere on it.)
- Infuse your imagination –
- read (rss feeds, tech magazines (wired, fast company, inc),
- follow some interesting tweeters (who do you look up to?),
- play the game (and games online),
- share your “thoughts,”
- get experience by doing some work.
- Go mobile – How does your phone influence your online experience, how do you share with your phone that is different than wifi-accessed computer sharing? (80% of Tweets are generated via mobile apps and mobile sites.)
- Set goals – It’s easy to say “be everywhere” but harder to make decisions about where to spend your time online.
- Embrace the long view – You can’t gain 1,000 followers in 10 days, and if you could would they be followers that you wanted? Your linkedin profile is developed over years of experience.
- Beyond Facebook – How do you stay in touch? Where do you go to catch up on what your friends are doing? LinkedIn weekly updates? LinkedIn Groups? Friendfeed?
- Celebrate the amazing – The iPod and iPhone were industry changing products – study what made them special and what keeps them ahead of ALL the competition.
- Smart friends – gather with other online thinkers, find ways to do it differently within your peer group, your company.
- Network with new people – Blast beyond your close network and force yourself to attend a Tweetup, a BarCamp, an industry conference.
- Learn, study, build – There is no excuse for not expanding your toolbox. (Lynda.com / Inbound Marketing University / classes and workshops)
- Be fierce with your competition – “New business is not about fairness.” (What are they doing that we are not? What do you need to do better? How will you stand out in the crowd of smart companies, or in a company of smart people?)
- Connect in Real Time – The online world of social media is expanding the reach and influence of every one, time online, emails, chats, tweets are all good examples of connecting online, but don’t forget, often business is done with a handshake and a face to face meeting. Look to add one personal meeting per week to your schedule (lunch, coffee, tennis, tweetup).
- Lead – Don’t do anything tentatively. If you’re going to get involved, do it with passion. If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing you cannot fake it. In Seth Godin’s Tribes he says, “Nobody forwards a boring email.” Make sure you are injecting energy and thought into your participation.
- Write – If you are not capturing it, no one is going to do it for you. And how will you remember all that you learned and all you’ve yet to explore?
Thought Leadership Is About Participating, and Then Sharing Your Learnings With the Rest of Us.
I look forward to hearing more ideas for this list in your comments or emails. And I look forward to hearing (reading actually) you getting out there and leading.