“It’s not enough to be good at what you do; a thought leader is meant to be the greatest form of praise, geared towards someone who is on the absolute cutting edge of their industry or making big enough moves to warrant the distinction.” -Lauren Hockenson, author for The Next WebAs aptly summed up by Lauren, thought leaders are those at the very forefront of their professions and their industries. They’re not just the most informed people in the room; they’re the ones working hardest at maintaining that position.

They’re the true subject matter experts, whose ideas are backed up by practical experience, original research or pure natural talent. They are those knowledgeable individuals who’ve done their time in the trenches, earned their stripes in their respective fields and have the knowledge others simply don’t have.

They possess an innate ability to contribute to the conversations happening right now, while also being able to speculate on what will happen in future.

Also rather than butt in on every discussion, they prefer to lead the conversation, offering intelligent insights and informed opinions. They’re the ones capable of thinking outside the box and who you can rely on to provide the best and most insightful answers to your questions.

They have a genuine passion for change, can be known for causing great disruption and are the ones most likely to look at existing best practices then come up with something significantly better.

Thought leaders are prepared to take risks and challenge the status quo. They understand that at times there will be those who don’t agree with what they say and they’re prepared to cop it on the chin. They see no reason to duck for cover and are will willingly to stand firm on what they say.

Most importantly they understand that thought leadership is not about advancing themselves but about advancing their ideas.  After all, they’re in the business of selling ideas, not products and services.

They also know that thought leadership is not a title they give themselves. It’s something others bestow on them.

So why should I bother with becoming a thought leader, I hear you ask?

As many have discovered over the years – well before the term ‘thought leadership’ became part of our modern vernacular – that being seen as acknowledged industry expert and authority certainly has its perks and can be hugely advantageous.

For the individual (be they entrepreneurs, business owners, leaders within an organisation or community or simply individuals who feel strongly about an issue) being an acknowledged thought leader builds personal brand and makes you more attractive to journalists, analysts, event organizers and conference hosts, investors, policy makers, even recruiters.

It gives you access to the very people who can help make things happen – key leaders, innovators in your field or industry, researchers or critical connections in government or regulatory circles.

It opens doors which were previously shut tight, gets you invitations to address audiences it was once impossible to reach and results in invitations to join corporate boards, serve on government commissions and participate in industry-wide committees.

While thought leaders are generally individuals – not companies – organisations are keenly aware that employing, encouraging and embracing individual thought leaders, earns them recognition as a thought leadership company. They know that would-be buyers feel safer using the services of a business that has experts in its midst that are leading the conversation and shaping and driving change.

Similarly, would-be employees are also more likely to want to join organisations and stay long-term if they believe their employers are proponents of thought leadership and constantly looking to innovate and change.

If you are interested in learning more about thought leadership and the processes and steps involved, do register for our next two-hour Thought Leadership Workshop on Tuesday 18 July at Hub Southern Cross, Level 2, 696 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD.

To register, click here: