The rise and rise of the transformational thought leader
What on earth is a transformation thought leader I hear you yell out loud?
It is someone who uses their position at the helm of an organisation, community group or movement to drive change, clean up poor industry practices or encourage their greater eco-system to take a new course of action beneficial to society and the world at large.
A great recent example of this purpose-driven or transformational
approach to thought leadership is Andrew Mackenzie, Director of BHP Billiton
Limited and CEO of BHP Billiton Plc.
weeks ago Andrew announced that the resources
giant will be doing its bit to address our escalating climate change crisis. It
will be spending millions on a climate investment program to reduce emissions
from its own operations and will be pushing hard for its customers to follow
have been easy for Andrew given that the steel industry is one of the greatest
contributors to greenhouse gases and his announcement is a major departure from
the Australian resources industry and government’s approach to climate change
which is about putting off action and ignoring so-called “scope 3” carbon
emissions. These are emissions from steel mills and power stations in other
countries which burn Australian iron ore, coal and gas.
In his landmark
speech in London which heralded BHP’s stance on climate change, Andrew emphasized
that global warming required a “coordinated global response” and that no single
solution could combat it.
He said it
was incumbent on all emitters, resource companies, customers and consumers to
play their part along with governments to meet the climate challenge.
Andrew is part of an illustrious group of thought
leaders who are using their positions at the head of organisations to drive
These brave leaders are prepared to take a leap faith into
the unknown and openly challenge the status quo and bring about substantial
change … and more importantly they are beginning in their own backyards by
changing their own strategic choices, practices and cultures.
are revolutionaries. They are NOT attempting to advance themselves,
their businesses or brands but are using their status to incite positive
behaviour change across their industries. They want to change hearts and
minds and in the process make the world a better place.
They are courageous. They are passionate and unafraid to speak out. They know they’ll cop a lot of flak but they understand this is part and parcel of what they are hoping to achieve.
Known for their stance. Transformational thought leaders regularly and openly speak out about their alternative viewpoint and in time this becomes their mantra and what they are known for.
Lead by example. Rather than just yell from the roof-tops about what needs to change, they lead by example and show how others can follow suite. They show their suppliers, stakeholders, customers and competitors what change looks like by taking action themselves. They provide the blue-print for others to follow.
Communicate effectively. Transformational thought leaders understand the importance of communication and providing their communities with regular access to their knowledge, thinking, opinions and ideas. They understand that to be influential and drive change they need to be constantly out their dipping into the array of communications platforms and channels at their disposal.
So hats off to Andrew! May he go the distance and
get a recalcitrant industry to do the right thing!
Like Andrew, do you want to change the hearts and minds of those in your industry or greater eco-system? Do you have something powerful and worthwhile to say, but DON’T know how to position yourself as a thought leader and communicate your thinking, expertise, opinions and big ideas to the world?