The term itself implies one must have thought before one can become a “Thought Leader” and since we all have thoughts, we must now explore the term in whole. In researching the term, I found reference that the term thought leader was first used in the mid-1990s by Joel Kurtzman, Editor-in-Chief of Strategy and Business magazine which was a Booz, Allen, Hamilton publication. Kurtzman used this term to designate or differentiate those who he interviewed who had business ideas he felt were worthy of attention and subjects of interest for his readers. Since then, the term has been used to describe individuals or organizations that have been able to enhance current practices with new or innovative changes.
Taking this into consideration, we can now look at our organizations and ourselves to assess at a high level, do our ideas merit attention this type of attention? Do they have business value such that it would or could have a positive impact on our business and perhaps the business of others? For example, if you consider the basic elements of Enterprise 2.0 where shared information and knowledge exchange might be the focus, how would or could you modify the way an organization collaborates internally and perhaps externally to develop new products, services, revenue streams or improve operating efficiencies? The use of wikis for sharing ideas and blogs as a means to communicate along with shared workspaces that offer document control features. The point is to take a step back, look at the variables available to you, then explore the options.
In my view, we are all thought leaders to a certain degree. What differentiates us is recognition as one who is able to provide value. It is one thing to say we can do this better and another to say here are some options to make it better. Look at your environment and think about where there is room for improvement and how to make those improvements. Develop suggestions on steps to explore and the potential benefit each would deliver. If you run into an area where your expertise is limited, seek the advice of others or get additional training in those areas and increase your knowledge level. We all have thoughts and ideas. As a simple exercise, think about how and where you could leverage wikis and blogs for the benefit of the organization. Start in your own department and develop a plan on how it would work and the benefit it would bring. I also encourage you to look at something being presented and try to think of it in a different perspective. If the company is spending money on a document management solution for control and risk management, how will it also benefit the business from an efficiency and perhaps revenue generating perspective? Who knows, you could be seen as the newest Thought Leader in your company or industry.
What say you? What are your thoughts on this topic?
Email: Bob Larrivee – AIIM email@example.com
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