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"Making an Impact through Thought Leadership" with Rosa Ponce de Leon, Leadership Strategist

Making an Impact through Thought Leadership

“A visionary is a leader of excellence who sees what others do not see, who achieves for now and plans for the future, who positively impacts different generations and raises up other visionaries.” ― Onyi Anyado

Thought Leaders don’t play it safe. They are visionaries who run the risk of being wrong. They are using their wisdom, expertise and experience to make predictions for the future. Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? 

What does it mean to be a thought leader?

Being a thought leader involves your ability to think critically on any issue. Now it’s not just randomly spurting out your opinions to others, it requires careful consideration of the topic. Your critical thought is unique. It involves your convictions, experience, and ability to solve problems. 

Thought leaders bring value when they can provide a timely solution. Most of the time, this means sharing predictions and new ideas for the future, not summarizing what has already happened.

Why thought leadership is important…

We live in a world that is constantly evolving and changing. In order to adapt, we need visionary thought leaders who can step back and see the big picture. That big picture serves as a guide to those that are too close to the problem. Those deep in the “weeds” depend on the opinion of thought leaders so they can perform at their best.

Of course the opinions of the thought leader must be sound in judgment. A thought leader’s wisdom comes from having maturity to provide insight in a way that is helpful, understood, and applicable. If it’s too far out there and not something that can be applied, it won’t make a positive impact.

How to use thought leadership to make changes in your company.

Most of us want our companies to be on the cutting edge. In order to keep up with the ever evolving customer’s needs, we have to be. If you want to use thought leadership to bring transformation within your organization, finding a quality thought leader is key.

We are all thought leaders in our own way and anyone can be a thought leader at any given point. But because thought leaders can make such a profound impact, it’s crucial that you vet the thought leader. Don’t just accept someone’s opinions at face value. Trust your own screening process. 

A thought leader doesn’t have to be someone within your company, you can also depend on thought leaders outside of your business. They bring a different perspective and share wisdom that can make your company more efficient.

The power of conviction and challenging the status quo.

A thought leader doesn’t simply regurgitate someone else’s ideas. They don’t play it safe. A thought leader’s reputation can be at risk of being questioned when they have an unpopular belief or opinion.

While that can sound intimidating and even a little scary, thought leaders aren’t so worried about their reputation. Their conviction matters more. It’s understood that it will take time for others to share their opinion, and once others do catch on, it can actually strengthen the thought leader’s reputation. Their opinion becomes more effective.

And just like everyone else, thought leaders can be wrong. When you make a mistake, it’s important to address it timely. You’re operating one step ahead by making predictions, so it’s understandable if you’re wrong from time to time. Own up to the mistake.

5 ways to introduce a new idea that people will listen to…

Getting people to actually hear what you have to say doesn’t have to feel impossible. Here are 5 ways to introduce an new idea:

  1. Inquire. Stop to ask, “Can I say something?” That way you’ll get their attention, causing them to pause so that you can introduce your thoughts and weigh in accordingly.
  2. Think. Pause to be sure that your new thought is:
    • Adding value
    • Has already been said and if so, give credit to the person saying it
    • Building on a previous thought and if so, cite the previous thought and add to it
    • If none of the above, rethink your contribution because you’re probably not adding value
  3. Have a story. Be clear on the point that you want to make. Think of a story or example to highlight your thoughts. This helps others be on the same page and improves their understanding of your idea.
  4. Pause. Give people a chance to switch gears and give yourself a second to calmly introduce your idea.
  5. Introduce your idea and welcome feedback. Allow others to question your opinion. This helps them to be more engaged and receptive to your ideas.

 

How will you use thought leadership to make a greater impact at work?

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