Within their fields, thought leaders are sources of inspiration and innovation. They have the gift of harnessing their expertise and their networks to make their innovative thoughts real and replicable, sparking sustainable change and even creating movements around their ideas. In Ready to Be a Thought Leader?, renowned executive talent agent Denise Brosseau shows readers how to develop and use that gift as she maps the path from successful executive, professional, or civic leader to respected thought leader.
With the author’s proven seven-step process―and starting from wherever they are in their careers―readers can set a course for maximum impact in their field. These guidelines, along with stories, tips, and success secrets from those who have successfully made the transition to high-profile thought leader, allow readers to create a long-term plan and start putting it into action today, even if they only have 15 minutes to spare.
Offers a step-by-step process for becoming a recognized thought leader in your field
Includes real-world examples from such high-profile thought leaders as Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Chip Conley, author of PEAK and former CEO of JDV Hospitality; and more
Written by Denise Brosseau, founder of Thought Leadership Lab, an executive talent agency that helps executives become thought leaders, who has worked with start-up CEOs and leaders from such firms as Apple, Genentech, Symantec, Morgan Stanley, Medtronic, KPMG, DLA Piper, and more
Ready to Be a Thought Leader? offers essential reading for anyone ready to expand their influence, increase their professional success, have an impact far beyond a single organization and industry, and ultimately leave a legacy that matters.
Seven Steps to Thought Leadership by Author
Over the years, I have developed a time-tested, seven-step process to help individuals successfully transition from leader to thought leader. In this book, I will share that process with you. If you follow this step-by-step guide through the chapters, you’ll learn how to bring your own ideas to the world, have an impact on an issue you care about, and leave a meaningful legacy of which you can be proud.
Here’s what it takes:
Step 1: Find Your Driving Passion
Thought leadership starts with focus and passion. You will be far more effective if you identify the one arena where your interests, expertise, credibility, and commitment align—your “thought leadership intersection point.” Next you will craft a clear What If? future, a possible future that you are committed to bring about. When you identify and align to key trends, you will gain momentum and be well on your way to make a significant difference, not only in your company or community
but across your industry or niche.
Step 2: Build Your Ripples of Influence
To build your first ripples of change, you’ll test your ideas and opinions (often not yet fully baked) with knowledgeable stakeholders—colleagues, mentors, and friends—gather their input, and continually refine your thinking. By listening to what resonates, you will distill many different points of view into the kernel of a transformative idea that will bring about the What If? future you envision. Those conversations will also inform you how to position and leverage your message to tell a bigger story that gets your first followers on board.
Step 3: Activate Your Advocates
To expand your influence beyond your existing team or organization will require that you attract supporters and well-connected advocates—community leaders, industry spokespeople, analysts, journalists, research groups, or national partners—who can champion your product, program, initiative, or idea to a muchbroader set of audiences. In this chapter, you’ll learn to articulate what’s in it for them and to create real momentum for change as well as how to move your message out of the reach of naysayers, the people determined to stop any transformation in its tracks.
Step 4: Put Your “I” on the Line
To build sustainable momentum for a new idea requires someone to show the way, someone willing to step into the limelight and say “follow me.” We’ll explore how you can “put your ‘I’ on the line”—overcoming any self-imposed limits to standing front and center and risking your reputation to espouse a new direction or vision of the future, often long before others agree with your point of view.
Step 5: Codify Your Lessons Learned
The essential difference between leaders and thought leaders is often the latter’s ability to distill their know-how into a replicable model so that others can be inspired and empowered to expand on what those leaders have accomplished. This chapter will give you the tools to codify, test, and refine a repeatable and scalable blueprint for others who want to follow in your footsteps.
Step 6: Put Yourself on S.H.O.U.T.
To increase your credibility, strategic visibility, and reputation and gain recognition as a thought leader, you will have to get the word out about your activities, efforts, and lessons learned. You’re not a thought leader if no one knows anything about you or what you’ve accomplished. You need to be “discoverable” and connect with those who can build on your ideas.
Step 7: Incite (R)Evolution
Has the transformation you’ve envisioned and worked towards begun to take hold? In this chapter, you’ll learn to audit your progress to ensure that you gain traction for your ideas locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally. As you accelerate and amplify your voice, you’ll increase your influence, expand your impact, and build a sustainable community of followers that will carry forward your efforts.
Here we’ll also explore how to prevent burnout as you bring about the evolutionary and even revolutionary change that will be your legacy.
How to Use This Book (Taken from book)
In Chapters One through Three, you’ll learn to build your own thought leadership platform around an idea. In Chapter Five, we’ll discuss how to create a blueprint so others can join and replicate your efforts. Then, in Chapter Six, we’ll explore how to
get out and “S.H.O.U.T.” widely about what you’re up to, and finally, in Chapter Seven, we’ll cover how to create a community that can continue your work. If you’ve already been on this adventure a while, you don’t need to start at the very
beginning of the book. Jump to Chapter Five or Six to find some tools and techniques that will accelerate your efforts. If you’ve hit a roadblock, turn to Chapter Four to discover some suggestions from other thought leaders on how to move
forward. If the journey’s a new one for you, I invite you to follow the playbook from start to finish.
Throughout the book, you’ll find lots of tips, shortcuts, and encouragement. You’ll also meet some amazing people who are changing the world. I’ve included these case studies to offer inspiration and new ideas for how to begin or jump-start your own thought leadership journey. The following chapter, “Getting Started,” includes an assessment for evaluating your progress to date; we’ll also explore the behaviors and characteristics of successful thought leaders.
Throughout the book, too, you’ll find exercises and resources at each stage of the process. You can also find more information, case studies, and resources at www.thoughtleadershiplab.com. One quick aside: as I wrote this book, I learned that some people are not comfortable with the term thought leader. There is no question that this term has been misused or misapplied by self-proclaimed experts who are all about self-promotion (or simply personal wealth). But we needn’t reject the phrase altogether. Instead, I advocate that we reclaim “thought leader” to denote the following: change agents whose intentions and efforts are aligned to improve the world and who then choose to have a more significant impact by sharing their expertise, knowledge,
and lessons learned with others, aligning their efforts in a way that creates momentum for sustainable evolutionary and revolutionary, change.
Those are the folks I am talking to in this book.
Those who are not satisfied with the status quo; those who are actively working to bring about needed improvements in their company or industry, in their region or field of expertise, in laws and attitudes and in the way things have always been done. I hope you are one of those people.
If you picked up this book because you’ve been asked to establish your company’s thought leadership within your industry or you’re part of a group that wants to develop a shared thought leadership platform, you too will find that the ideas in this book will be applicable to your efforts. If you aren’t looking to gain the designation “thought leader” but you know that pursuing thought leadership strategies will help you get ahead in your career, establish your credibility in your community, or help you build your business, you’ll also find a lot of ideas here.
Or perhaps you’re mentoring or sponsoring someone and hope to inspire him or her to step into a broader role as a thought leader. You’ll discover here lots of techniques and resources you can share and many ways to offer support and ultimately ensure the person’s success.
And if you’ve already started on your own path to thought leadership, but you’ve hit a seemingly immovable roadblock, or if you are tired, discouraged, or almost
burned out, you’ll find any number of workarounds, some new directions, and a lot of the necessary motivation to keep moving forward.
The Time Is Now (Taken from book)
Hopefully, the idea of thought leadership inspires, motivates, and excites you and you don’t think, “I could never do that.”
Thought leaders do not have a special gene, any inborn talents, or a secret decoder ring. They exist in every industry, nation, and arena; they are men and women, young and old, and they come from every ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic background.
They are not always confident—they have their moments of doubt. They are not always the smartest kid in the room; most will admit that even if they are the “expert” in their community, they still have a lot to learn and they have made (many) mistakes along the way. I know I have. And thought leaders do not always start out with a clear path, plan, or purpose. They have stumbled around, lost their way, and then, somehow, found it again. And so will you.
If you crave more visibility for what you are already doing, read this book. If you want to build more credibility in order to advance an agenda or a big idea, read this book. If you are ready to use your skills and talents—and develop new ones—in order to make an indelible imprint on the world, then this book is for you.
And most importantly, if you want to leave a legacy that extends beyond a series of job titles on a resume, please read this book. I wrote it for you. I believe we need many more voices at the table, many more solutions proposed, and many more people inspired and empowered to build a purposeful life that serves and calls others to action.
Now is exactly the right time to begin your thought leadership journey. Ready?
At the center of every industry, you will find an inner circle of people who are the most well-known and highly valued people. They are the ‘Key People of Influence’.You probably already know of these people in your industry: Their names come up in conversation… for all the right reasons. They attract a lot of opportunities… the right sort. They earn more money than most… and it isn’t a struggle. They can make a project successful if they are involved… and people know it.
Key People of Influence enjoy a special status in their chosen field because they are well connected, well known, well regarded and highly valued. They get invited to be a part of the best teams and projects, and they can often write their own terms. Key People of Influence also have more fun. They get invited on trips away. People buy them dinner and drinks and give them VIP treatment. They are treated with respect, and others listen when they speak.
These people are in demand; they don’t chase opportunities, they curate them.
People think that it must take years or decades to become a Key Person of Influence (KPI). They think that KPIs need degrees or doctorates. They think KPIs must be gifted or from a wealthy family.
While time invested, qualifications, talents and a wealthy family are helpful, they are not a reliable way to make yourself a Key Person of Influence.
There are plenty of people who have been in an industry for years who are not a Key Person of Influence. There are plenty of MBAs and PhDs who are not yet KPIs. There are people with talent and people born into privileged families who aren’t KPIs either.
And then there are the unusual stories like Daniel.
Daniel arrived in the UK with little more than a suitcase and a credit card in 2006. I knew no one, and I didn’t have a big budget to start my business.
Within a year, people started calling me one of the most connected entrepreneurs in London. Along with my partners I built a business turning over millions, and I could get on the phone to any of the other high-flyers and heavy-hitters in my industry within a few calls.
All this in London; a big city that is known for being difficult to
break into the established networks. I was told it would take years to be accepted into the right circles and I was unlikely to be given any special treatment. I was told that London is a difficult city in which to achieve success in a short space of time.
How wrong the critics were. London works like any other city in
the world because it is full of people, and people everywhere
respond to the ideas I talk about in this book.
People all over the world respond to the method we will discuss in the coming chapters. It’s a method based on clearly communicating your value and packaging it in a way the market finds desirable.
The principles in this book have been tested across more than fifty different industries, in over a dozen countries, by 1000+
entrepreneurs and leaders; they have proven to be universal.
14 KEY PERSON OF INFLUENCE
It’s not difficult to become a Key Person of Influence within your industry in the next twelve months if you take the steps set out in this book, in the order they are prescribed and you implement them at a high standard.
If you do, you won’t need to do more university training or spend decades climbing corporate ladders. You will become a Key Person of Influence in your field very fast.
The hidden theme
This book contains powerful ideas, the chapters are set out in a particular order for a reason. I’m going to give you a five-step
sequence that will fast-track you towards ‘KPI status’. The theme is pretty obvious.
Behind the obvious theme of this book and the five-step KPI
Method though, there is a hidden theme. There is a story behind the story, you could say. It’s more powerful than anything I say in this book overtly. It’s not a secret, but it’s still hidden from most people.
When it becomes obvious to you, you will recognize it with a gut reaction. This hidden theme will click a lot of ideas into place quickly, and it will trigger a rush of energy and insights. You might sit up through the night ‘working’ and still not be tired.
If you spot this hidden theme, you will find it easy to earn more
money and you will discover some very exciting trends that are
already close to your heart. Your future will become crystal clear and you will know your next steps.
This theme is hidden from most people only because they are too close to it. It’s worth taking the time to discover it though.
Maybe you will discover it the first time you read this book, maybe on the fifth time. Maybe it will hit you in the shower one morning and then you will re-read this book to confirm it.
Either way, don’t give up on getting the real message; all the juice is in ‘the story behind the story’. It’s in the chapters that you haven’t examined that will point the way.
You might think that the chapters are out of order or that there are too many or too few. You might think that I haven’t told you about the chapters you haven’t seen yet. None of this is the case.
All the chapters are there for you to explore, and when you can
connect the dots you will step into the realm of the true KPI.
You will never fear not having money or influence again.
You will already have everything you will ever need.
THE FIVE STEP METHOD found
Before you can become a Key Person of Influence “You have to pick something that you are going to become known for and you need to start promoting it and turning money away anything that isn’t quite right”. Basically, you need to choose your niche and Daniel actually encourages you to choose a micro-niche. He states that “From a tiny micro-niche big things can grow, but it almost never happens that a business sets out to please everyone and actually achieve it”. So once you know the micro-niche you want to become a Key Person of Influence in the real work starts.
The Five-Step Method is:
PITCH is about being able to communicate your message.
PUBLISH is about writing a book.
PRODUCT is about having products that people can buy and creating a product eco system.
PROFILE is about making sure you have a great online presence. PARTNERSHIP is about working with others to expand your reach and raise your profile.
Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination
By Sally Hogshead
Greatness Can Go Unnoticed
Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest violinists, earns $1,000 per minute in command performances at high-priced concerts. In an experiment, Bell played his violin during rush hour in a Washington, DC, subway station. A thousand distracted subway riders walked past Bell, but they disregarded him and were oblivious to the beautiful music he was creating for their benefit.
“As a marketplace becomes ever more crowded, strengths matter less than differences. Strengths become the standard…If you want to influence decision makers, invest in understanding your personality ‘Advantages’ and how best to apply them.”
If this virtuoso couldn’t get people to pay attention to him in the subway, how can you stand out from the crowd in your own busy environment? You could be one of the best in the world at what you do, but that won’t make any difference if people can’t separate you from the background noise. If they don’t see you – if you don’t fascinate them – then you aren’t really there.
You Must Fascinate
You were born with an instinctive ability to captivate; babies always enthrall their parents. But, soon you learned to protect yourself by building a shell and trying to blend in with everyone else. Society encourages children, from their earliest days, to avoid standing out. They learn to conform, to fit in and to wait patiently in line. For most youngsters, attaining invisibility becomes a primary goal, and over time, people acquire “layers of boring.”
“Advantages are the basic building blocks of every personality. They provide a simple way to categorize different communication styles for people and brands”
Today, no one wins by being invisible. You can’t get ahead unless you stand out from the crowd and earn positive attention. Besides getting noticed, you must fascinate others in order to draw them to you. Most people are afraid to be mesmerizing, a fear that traces back to “the beginning of recorded time.” Civilizations have long regarded the ability to fascinate others as an “evil power,” something akin to witchcraft or hypnotism.
“When you operate in alignment with how the world sees you, things get a lot easier…You can stop shouting to be heard.”
Fascination is indeed powerful, though not evil. It represents “a neurological state of intense focus, one that creates an irresistible feeling of engagement. It’s almost like falling in love.” Fascination gets you noticed. Only when you can fascinate people will you get the opportunity to communicate – and be hired or included. If you can’t “add value to your audience,” the game will go on without you. Getting noticed in a positive light takes effort, due to three factors that threaten your ability to be distinctive:
“Distraction” – People face an endless barrage of communication. The BBC reports that web browsing dramatically limits the human attention span, which is now about “nine seconds – the same as a goldfish.” Making a good impression in only nine seconds is tough, so you have to “front-load your value.”
“Competition” – Everyone who wants to succeed tries “hard to be ‘better’” than their competitors. The problem is, being “’better’ is not better.” You may temporarily get ahead of those around you, but a new face will emerge who does better than you and you’ll be right back where you began. This is true for products, services and companies, too. Instead of trying to be better, aim to be different and stand out.
“Commoditization” – In today’s intensely competitive environment, you face the danger of being perceived as interchangeable with your competitors. When people become commodities, clients can and will quickly replace them, just as customers quickly replace products or services they see as commodities. Like distinctive professionals, goods and services that offer clear differentiation need never fear commoditization.
The Seven “Fascination Advantages”
To overcome these “three threats,” endeavor to provide “distinct value” to your clients, customers and company. This value is yours alone and includes your individualized communication style. People communicate seven different ways, using the seven fascination advantages. To determine your advantages, take the Fascination Advantage assessment. While most personality assessments measure how you see the world, this measures “how the world sees you.” Unlike a traditional personality system, which is based on psychology, this is built around marketing.
“Much about you is a commodity. These are your least valuable traits…In those areas, increased effort will not yield substantially increased results.”
No single advantage is best. Identify the two advantages on the following list that capture your strongest character traits. These two assets “make you intensely valuable.” The first is your “primary advantage”; the other is your “secondary advantage.” They define what makes you unique. Leverage them in all you do. The seven advantages are:
“Power advantage” – Authoritative “power personalities” enjoy debates and expertly argue their cases. They don’t fear risks. The typical power personality is “the high-school football coach who pushes each player to do more.” Power people move up quickly, often becoming CEOs. They motivate others.
“Passion advantage” – As social butterflies, “passion personalities” can spark an acquaintance with anyone. They are the life of any party. The typical passion-personality person is “the Girl Scout who shows up at your door selling cookies, with a big smile and an irresistible sales pitch.” Because they are highly intuitive, these people have strong interpersonal skills and love to use them. They are easy to read because they wear their emotions openly. As life’s natural cheerleaders, they bond quickly with others. They know that people who just “sort of care” will never get anywhere.
“Mystique advantage” – “Mystique personalities” are analytical thinkers, sensitive to nuance and totally pragmatic. They deal with facts, not emotions. These introverts are great listeners. The mystique personality is “the poker player who doesn’t show his emotions as the pot grows larger.” People turn to these personalities for sound, rational advice.
“Prestige advantage” – “Prestige personalities” are overachievers who focus on excellence, high standards and superior results. The typical prestige personality is “the editor who takes out a comma and then puts it back.” Rightly proud of their accomplishments, these people demand the best from those they lead.
“Trust advantage” – Everybody has faith in steady, dependable “trust personalities.” Totally focused and predictable, they like familiar, tried-and-true routines and don’t like new approaches. These traditionalists are the most trustworthy people in the office. The typical trust personality “is a customer who comes back to buy the same pair of jeans, year in and year out.” These folks deliver the goods and keep their promises.
“Innovation advantage” – Creative, quick-thinking, “innovation personalities” come up with the most imaginative, totally unexpected solutions. Irreverent and independent, these visionaries are idea people – bored by old concepts and habits. They dislike routine and accepted approaches. The typical innovation personality is “the chef who dreams up a different menu each week with fanciful ingredients.”
“Alert advantage” – “Alert personalities” are detail-oriented and prefer a pragmatic, step-by-step approach. They are risk-averse, focused and in control. “They perform exceptionally well as project managers.” The typical example of an alert personality is the “mother who plans ahead for the child’s birthday party with sanitary wipes and disposable cups.”
“Just because you perceive yourself a certain way doesn’t mean that your team or customers necessarily see you the same way.”
In addition to primary and secondary advantages, you also have a “dormant advantage”: one of the seven advantages that works least well for you. People become uncomfortable – and exhausted – when they rely on their dormant advantages – that’s like a right-handed person trying to write with the left hand. A person with a dormant alert advantage is not good with details. A person with a dormant passion advantage is terrible at relationships.
“The 49 Archetypes”
Combining your primary and secondary advantages creates a personal archetype that represents your “distinct value,” the way you express yourself to the world and how it views you. Your archetype is your fascination advantage.
“Employees are most fulfilled and successful when your company doesn’t try to change who they are, but…supports them in becoming…who they naturally are, at their best.”
Your fascination advantage enables you to stand out with an inner understanding of your distinct value. In these sample archetypes, the first key word represents the primary advantage and the second key word represents the secondary advantage:
“Ringleader” – Combine “Power” and “Passion” for this “motivated, spirited, compelling” profile. Ringleaders – like Richard Branson – are “motivated and motivating.” They instill confidence in others.
“Rockstar” – Use “Innovation” and “Passion” to build this “bold, authentic, unorthodox” person who fills up the room. Rockstars – such as Madonna – enjoy the limelight.
“Anchor” – The blend of “Trust” and “Mystique” produces a “protective, purposeful, analytical” person, the individual to whom others turn in a crisis. These cool customers deal well with challenging circumstances. People pay close attention to what they say. Clint Eastwood is an Anchor-type.
“Editor-in-Chief” – Someone with both “Alert” and “Prestige” advantages is “productive, skilled, detailed.” These people have high standards and respect deadlines. They have confidence. Film director James Cameron is an Editor-in-Chief.
“Change Agent” – The person with both the “Power” and the “Innovation” advantages is “inventive, untraditional, self-propelled.” Change Agents – like Steve Jobs – deal exclusively in new ideas and love to topple the status quo.
People who rely too heavily on one of their two main advantages can become rigid, inflexible and hard to work with, and that is double trouble. “Imperial” personalities who use only the “Prestige” advantage, love public recognition, promote themselves constantly and seem pretentious, exemplify the double-trouble dilemma.
“You will never be your most successful when evaluated according to criteria that do not allow you to stand out.”
Other double-trouble personalities include the “Deadbolt,” who relies only on the “Mystique” advantage and whose secrecy leads to untrustworthiness. The “Aggressor” doubles up on the “Power” advantage and becomes domineering. The “Control Freak” musters only the “Alert” advantage and might be a micromanager. The “Old Guard” has two portions of the “Trust” advantage and is completely predictable, while the “Anarchy” archetype stresses “Innovation” as a sole advantage and becomes insubordinate.
“In a distracted, competitive and commoditized world, a personality tagline is crucial. People need to immediately grasp what you bring to the table.”
Your two advantages are your big guns; use them together. United, they make you formidable; relying on only one makes you annoying and unlikable.
Of Taglines and “Anthems”
Companies appreciate the power of taglines that sum up their products’ uncommon qualities. Customers respond to the right taglines. Think of a tagline as “a shortcut to how a brand is most likely to add distinct value to its consumers.” Choice taglines include L’Oréal’s assertion “Because I’m worth it”; the idea that M&M’s “melt in your mouth, not in your hands”; and BMW’s claim to sell “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Similarly, people need taglines. With the right tagline, everyone will know who you are and how you deliver value.
“There’s no one right way to fascinate. Over the long run, shy or low-key personalities can be as fascinating as the most charismatic ones.”
Your tagline is your personal Anthem, a few words that describe what makes you unique. To create your Anthem: 1) Find an adjective that expresses what makes you different; 2) Choose a noun that tells people what you are great at doing; and 3) Combine both words, for example: “entrepreneurial thought-leader,” “rational insights,” “irreverent innovator” and “dynamic networker.”
“Fascination really is alchemy. It transforms ordinary companies into exceptionally desirable brands. And…it makes otherwise ordinary people extraordinarily valuable to their company and customers.”
You may want an extended Anthem, like “I create bold solutions with a pioneering mind-set,” or “With clients, co-workers and friends, I deliver astute insight based on my in-the-know expertise.” Put your Anthem in your LinkedIn profile, add it to your website, make it part of your email signature, tweet it and cite it in your social media profiles.
Your Fascination Advantage
You deliver your greatest value when you are most yourself. Being “100% yourself” is better than being “100% perfect.” You can never contribute by staying quiet. You can “unlearn how to be boring.” People must hear you.
“You don’t need to find the light. You are the light. When you let your personality shine, you can light up the world.”
Your personality is your most important differentiator, so don’t focus on changing yourself; that will get you nowhere. To succeed, focus on becoming more yourself. Clients hire you because you are different – that is your fascination advantage.
The Thought Leader Formula: Strategically Leverage Your Expertise to Drive Business & Career Goals
By Robin Farmanfarmaian
PEOPLE DON’T PAY FOR CONTENT; THEY PAY FOR PACKAGING. But how do you package yourself in a way that is accessible, relatable, and that will be heard above the noise? You want to expand your career and take your business to the next level.
You’re not sure exactly where to start, but you want to be known. You might have brilliant ideas, but you weren’t born knowing how to sell them. No one is; it takes study, practice, and years of grind.The truth is, there’s no difference between branding a company and branding a person.It takes a shift in mindset: you are the company.
Robin Farmanfarmaian takes you from zero to blastoff. Take a deep dive through the how of thought leadership; learn the foundations that will create an impact; see how Robin transformed herself into a brand; and establish your why—your fundamental truth—to build your launching pad for success.
From the author:
Who Is This Book For?
So, here we are in a new world of work—a world in which people interact with people, not brands. A world in which a startup company with less than one hundred employees can surpass the success of a large corporation. A world in which anyone has the opportunity to influence and impact others.
No matter what position you find yourself in right now, you have a great opportunity to set yourself up for success. Whether you are a corporate executive, employee, entrepreneur, or someone with particular expertise, you will have the power to choose how to progress in your career or business by becoming a thought leader.
Much of my experience is as an entrepreneur and educator working with corporate and startup executives and others who play pivotal roles within an organization. If you are on the C-Suite or have a role at the management level, you are positioned to seamlessly benefit from being seen as an expert in your field.
When it comes to your company’s marketing, people interact with people, not brands. As an executive, you can reach significantly more potential customers or clients than a corporate brand. Social media algorithms and platforms are constantly evolving, and they now promote the individual above the company. When you’re seen as a leader in your field, you can reach new potential partners, collaborators, or employees online or in person.
For Employees: Work in Your World
If you currently fit into the category of “employee,” whether you are at the start of your career or at the top of your career, this book is for you. You can work within your sector as a thought leader, propelling your career forward by being outward facing and getting credit for your work. At the same time, your status as a thought leader will strengthen your corporate brand, thereby increasing your salary.
Maybe you can identify with this scenario: You are in a large corporation and you are working quite hard, harder than a lot of your peers. You know your work directly impacts the success of the company. The problem is, your work isn’t getting the
credit it deserves. Others are getting the credit, whether through dishonesty or simply because they are more vocal. What’s the solution to this problem?
The solution is to become visible. By being famous for your brain and ideas, everything dramatically shifts in your favor. You are now more indispensable. Many companies hire thought leaders because they know people trust them more. As a thought leader within the company, you will attract the best employees and customers.
Whether you are part of a startup or a Fortune 1,000 company, one of fifty employees or one of one hundred thousand, your company can have many thought leaders in it. Each can be known for their particular expertise, thereby bringing the company up with them. An engineer at Google could propel his or her career forward by being a thought leader just as much as someone in sales, business development, or marketing could.
If you are an employee, everything I share in this book applies to you. You will have to work within your corporate rules, but I know many thought leaders who are successfully building multiple revenue streams while remaining with their company.
Their personal and professional worlds are completely integrated.
For Entrepreneurs: Pull the Company up with You
When entrepreneurs start a business, they are often in stealth mode or completely unknown. The business might be trying to do something new or different. Either way, it has no name. A founder’s thought leadership can be a huge asset to build the brand. If you already have a business established, you still face the difficult reality that competitors have access to similar business models, software, marketing tactics, employees, and PR. What many companies do not have is a CEO or founder who is also a thought leader.
If you follow the steps in this book, you will become known for your message through whatever you do—books, videos, keynotes, and more. Speaking at relevant conferences can give you a major edge, as potential investors and partners might come to you after seeing you on stage. You will no longer have to seek them out. At the same time, you can pull your company up with you. Saying “Hi, I’m the founder of X company” already signals to others that they should listen. If you then have something truly interesting and helpful to say, you will build trust. When people trust you, they will trust your business.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, dentist, part of a patient advocacy group, or any other patient-facing role, building yourself up in this way can enable you to share your expertise
with more people. At the same time, you will attract more patients to your practice, who may be willing to pay higher rates to see you. If you are part of this group, one key you will take from this book is the importance of simplifying your message so that it becomes more accessible and understandable to a wide audience. Then, over time, you can form a type of celebrity status in your specific niche.
For Those with Specific Knowledge and Expertise
If you are a research scientist, engineer, or in the technical field, you have specific and often complex knowledge. By simplifying this information and making it useful for the average person, you can more effectively spread your ideas. If you want to
progress your field or get funding for further research, being a thought leader is the ideal way to accomplish your goals. Until recently, individuals in these highly technical sectors could only reach a narrow audience. Now you have the opportunity for the world to know what you’re working on. If you are a lawyer, accountant, or consultant, you have particular expertise that
others don’t. As a thought leader, you are positioned to drive your marketing forward. People will trust you more, and you will gain repeat buyers. Your status will also allow you to charge premium prices for what you do.
With your status, you can build your pipeline with the best companies and the best investors for your venture fund. When you hop off-stage and entrepreneurs line up to talk to you, you can follow up with the interesting ones. You will have the leverage with your higher profile. And because companies will fight to be a part of your portfolio, you will have a stronger negotiation position. You know that the best investors provide a lot more than only money; they have a large network of potential partners. By being a KOL, you will have open doors to these potential partnering channels.
Start with Why
My three whys reminded me to keep pressing forward. As you read through my list below, consider what your whys are those things that will drive you forward when things get tough.
My First Why
Whenever I make a big decision, I prefer to have three solid reasons why I have made this decision. My first why was to drive my business goals. As a business development professional, getting in the door is a hard step. Anyone who has worked in biz-dev or sales knows that. Cold calling doesn’t work, especially for the types of projects I work on, like selling six-figure education packages, finding partners to codevelop a pharmaceutical, and raising funding for a medical device.
My Second Why
My second why was simply to create another revenue stream. You’ll see why this is important to me throughout the book. I believe in having five to fifteen revenue streams at any given time—not only because of the future of work and because any
job or business can be gone tomorrow, but because I am an early-stage entrepreneur.
My next paycheck is never guaranteed, so it’s best to be diversified. Just as no corporation would expect to live off of one client, I don’t expect to live off of one revenue stream.
My Third Why
My third why was to come at the gender bias I experienced from a position of strength. Being a petite, blonde woman in Silicon Valley is not easy. When I came head-to-head with male coworkers, some full on sabotaged me—repeatedly deleting me from a company website (I had to ask the CEO to intervene to get my name back up each time), taking credit for my work, or even calling me names in front of clients.
If you are a woman reading this book, you have likely experienced similar situations. You know what it feels like to be in a brainstorming session and speak up, only to see people respond when a man says the same thing minutes later. You know exactly what Sheryl Sandberg means in her book Lean In, when she states, “Success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”
Publisher : Indigo River Publishing (February 28, 2019)
Language : English
Paperback : 284 pages
ISBN-10 : 194808080X
ISBN-13 : 978-1948080804
Item Weight : 11.7 ounces
Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.64 x 8.5 inches
Best Sellers Rank: #2,003,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Leadership gap analysis is an analysis done to improve the leadership structure of an organization. Assembling and grooming an organization’s management team is not about perfection. It is all about progress. There is no such thing as perfect leadership. Hence, every member of the management team must sharpen their leadership skills.
In most cases, the leadership gap is not noticed in an organization. Until there is a crisis or a project fell off the track. Everything seems to be okay and working well even when there is a leadership gap, but problems make it more obvious. Leadership gap analysis is a reporting process used to improve processes within various industries. Ultimately, a robust leadership gap analysis allows project managers and leaders to determine where their business is—and where they want to be.
Leadership gap analysis compares the organization’s current state with an ideal state or goals. This underlines drawbacks and opportunities for improvement. It helps you know what to fix, remove or improve to take your company to the next level. You might have an idea about moving the organization forward as a leader; in the same manner, your workers might have different opinions.
Instead of taking guesses and doing trial and error, why not do a leadership gap analysis?
How to identify limitations through the leadership gap analysis
Here are some critical steps to take in identifying leadership gaps in your organization.
Hold meetings with experts and consultants.
The first step to identifying leadership gaps is meeting with experts in the field. They help you to identify gaps by asking series of questions and giving hints on what to do. As said earlier, the leadership gap in most cases doesn’t show except when challenges come. The leadership of an organization should take a time-to-time update on the leadership gap in the organization.
Use assessment tools
Assessment tools can also help identify leadership gaps in your organization. There are different assessment tools available for use by leaders and workers themselves. It’s therefore essential that results from these assessment tools are understood and worked upon.
Engage your employees anonymously
Another way to identify the leadership gaps in your organization is by anonymously asking your employees questions and acting on their feedback. This could be done by organizing a survey that keeps the workers anonymous but gives vital feedback on critical issues.
Doing regular check up on the leadership structure
The leadership structure of an organization is fundamental. Do a regular check-up on the leadership structure – to know their shortcomings and ways to improve it. Gaps can be more glaring when you do this. Observe the leaders’ relationship with the workers.
Do regular assessment meetings.
This has often proven to be the best way of identifying leadership gaps in an organization. Doing a general meeting with all the leaders and staff can give you an insight into what is happening. Give everyone the opinion to anonymously write down their excitement and displeasure. You can then tackle it one after the other. This could happen yearly or once in 6 months.
Review your organization’s strategy: In conducting a leadership gap analysis, you must review your organization’s strategy. Conduct a SWOT Analysis to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. What are your core values? How do you intend to achieve them? What are you doing currently that encourages it? What is your organization’s competitive advantage over competitors? What are the threats to the development of your organization? Where do you see your organization in the coming years? Answering these questions will give you a connection between your strategy and what is needed for leadership.
Identify your ideal future state: Have a bigger picture than what the company is currently. Review each department of the organization and check for where competence is lacking or too concentrated. You can create a competency model for your organization if you don’t have one. Identify the skills, knowledge, and competence needed to take the organization forward.
Decide what you want for the organization: If you don’t have a goal, you will never know what to improve. The workers or employees will not be persuaded when there is no clear vision. Decide where you want the organization to be in the coming years and make your stance obvious.
Find the gap and analyze solutions: After completing the first two steps, the gap is identified. You know where you are and where you want to be. There is a clear difference between your performance and your potential. Finding solutions to these gaps is next. Analyze the gaps, the causes, and how to solve them. Working together with the team will hasten the solution.
Create and implement plans for sustainability: Create and implement a strategy that doesn’t leave anyone out. After identifying the gap and the best solutions, a significant change might occur. Therefore, create a plan that carries everyone along. So that these gaps will not come up again in the future, create a good sustainability plan.
Invest in leadership training: You can’t be everywhere in the company at the same time. It would help if you had leaders in each department and subgroup. You need to invest in those leaders. You can do this by organizing leadership training, conferences, and summit. Current leaders in the organization must attend such training. Potential leaders in the company should also be given the opportunity.
Evaluate your organization: After all the above processes have been completed, you need to evaluate your strategy and result. Evaluation makes you know if some of your steps are yielding results. You might need to call subsequent staff meetings to do the general evaluation.
Barriers to bridging the leadership gap
Bridging the leadership gap might be tasking, but it’s worth it. There are several barriers to bridging the leadership gap in many organizations today. Let’s take a look:
Lack of goals and objectives: How will you know what to expect from your employees if you don’t have goals and objectives. You may identify the leadership gap, but it is impossible to bridge the gap without a clear goal and objective. The organization becomes static and directionless without a clear vision. To solve this problem, you need to identify what your goals and objectives are.
Obsolete leadership ideas: Most of us know that the term leadership is about influencing people to achieve a common goal; some people or companies still define it as finding answers to everything. Bridging the leadership gap becomes very hard when a leader sees himself as the supreme solution giver. Bossy leaders create more gaps in their pursuit of bridging the gaps.
Wrong leadership structure: Leadership gaps will not be bridged if an organization’s leadership structure is faulty. The leadership structure must align with the purpose of the organization. That is when the organization can move forward. The leadership structure must be well organized such that the employees will know what it takes to be a leader – not just because of relationship or emotional attachment.
Technology and digital setbacks: Many organizations and employees today are struggling with the pace of technological innovations in the world. This shows a clear difference between where they are and where they want to be. Technology has reshaped the market, and competitors will leave behind any organization that is not improving.
Lack of flexible employees: Lack of flexible employees can also be a drawback to bridging the leadership gap. This occurs when employees are rigid and not open to changes. In our fast-moving economy, changes occur almost all the time. Employees must be flexible and open to changes.
Advantages of conducting the leadership gap analysis
It ensures that project requirements are met.
It helps identify the areas that need improvement, such as the products and services you are offering or your competitive advantage.
It helps to give insight into weak areas.
It helps to uncover the difference between perception and reality.
It helps to identify the best areas to focus our energy and resources.
It provides information to make better decisions.
Gap Analysis Tools
These are tools that help to bridge the gap in organizations. There are lots of gap analysis tools; whichever one you choose will help you bridge specific gaps.
SWOT Analysis Tool
This stands for strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. SWOT Analysis has been one of the oldest but most used analysis tools by organizations. This tool helps you to know where your organization stands when you can identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (both internal and external).
PEST Analysis tool
PEST is an acronym for Political, Economical, Sociological, and Technological. Like the SWOT Analysis, PEST analysis helps you identify threats and minimize risk in the market. An in-depth version of this tool is the PESTLE analysis tool. It stands for Political, Economical, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental.
Fishbone diagram tool
This tool helps to examine the current situation of the organization. The most commonly used categories for investigation in this model are:
Measurements, Materials, People, Machines, Methods, and Environment.
The leadership gap analysis is essential for any business to simplify its strategies for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. If you’re pondering on improvement, join The Black Sheep Community today for guidance.
In late 2014, internationally acclaimed blogger and podcaster Chris Ducker coined the term “Youpreneur” to describe the rise of the personal brand entrepreneur, a new business model that very few people saw coming. Since then, the Youpreneur has risen to the top across sectors. A Youpreneur transcends the old rules of business and builds a sustainable business from the foundation of their experience, interests, and personality-their personal brand.
Youpreneurs draw an engaged, loyal audience even as they pursue varying, changing interests. They play by their own rules, and they reap the benefits. Ready to pivot for the last time, guarantee the success of your business, and become the go-to leader in your industry? Chris Ducker will show you how to develop the Business of You and build a future-proof business model.
Author about the book:
In late 2014, I coined the term Youpreneur to describe the rise of the personal brand entrepreneur and a new business model that very few people saw coming. A Youpreneur transcends the old rules of business and builds a sustainable and lasting business from the foundation of their experience, interests, and person- ality… ultimately, their personal brand. A Youpreneur IS the very public face of their business, and they draw an en- gaged, loyal audience even as they pursue varying, changing interests. Think Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
These Youpreneurs can and do pursue everything they’re interested in, and their communities follow along eagerly. A Youpreneur leverages the timelessness of their personality and unique experience to lead and grow with their audiences despite changing economies, shifting technologies, and uncertain circumstances. Youpreneurs play by their own rules, and if you’re ready to join the movement, you’ll notice two huge benefits, both immediately and going forward:
A personal brand business is the last pivot you’ll ever need to make.
With a personal brand business, however, the only and final business you have to build is The Business of You. You’re free to pursue all your professional inter- ests under the umbrella of being a Youpreneur, and a change in interests doesn’t mean losing all the work you’ve already put into building, marketing, and mone- tizing. Establishing my personal brand has meant that all my interests, even as they change, are still part of the Chris Ducker brand, and that my audience follows me as I pursue, explore, develop, and share those interests. If I want to talk about entrepreneurship one day and travel the next, I can do that because my business isn’t about any one product or service. It’s about me and the people I serve, just as your Youpreneur business will be about you and the people you serve.
Like I said, I’m used to building businesses from the ground up. I’ve done it for myself multiple times, and I’ve personally coached hundreds of others through the same process. It’s a lot of work, and it can be dispiriting to think that if you ever want to try a different business down the road, you’ll have to start all over again. If you’ve yet to build your first business, it can be daunting to wonder how long it’ll last before market trends demand you pivot, sell, or start again.
The Youpreneur business model is future-proof.
This is where it gets really exciting. Everything I’ve observed and experienced as a Youpreneur confirms that personal brand businesses are future-proof in the way no entrepreneur, or business model, has been before. Think about it: when your business is focused only on a service or product you provide, customers have little incentive to stay loyal. They’ll jump ship for the next- lowest price if all they have to compare is deliverables. But Youpreneurs know better than that. For us, business is about relationships, and relationships inspire loyalty, generosity, and service in an infinite loop.
It’s this mindset that will help you become the go-to source—the go-to leader in your market. People want to do business with other people. Youpreneurs make sure their audiences know them as people, and as a direct result, they have none of the external constraints and worries that product- or service-focused businesses do. As a Youpreneur, no matter what happens in the world, outside forces can’t control or dictate what your business does, how much money you can make, or how big an impact you can have.
You’re in full control, and the future is always bright. Now, make no mistake, launching The Business of You is still a huge under- taking. It requires the same enormous effort as starting any business, but the facts are that it’s the last pivot you’ll ever have to make, and you’ll be future-proofing yourself and your success going forward. This book will walk you through the exact process I followed when shifting from entrepreneur to Youpreneur myself.
It’s the same process I’ve walked literally thou- sands of students and coaching clients through as they’ve made the switch them- selves. You can read step-by-step, building your business with every page, and you’ll come out the other side with a solid personal brand and proven “Youpreneur ecosystem” that’ll sustain you and those who you desire to serve for years to come. Ready to rise and future-proof your business as a Youpreneur? Good. Let’s get started!
Ducker pointed out that he loses a lot of momentum in creating businesses when he does it under a business name rather than under his own personal brand. As he noted in the forward, people want to buy from people that they know and trust. It takes a long time for people to trust a faceless corporation. That’s why he said it’s important for the leader of the business to get out in front and become known and trusted.
By shifting to a Youpreneur business, you will save time and energy as you pivot in your business to new ventures. People who are following and purchasing from you will make the pivot because they know and trust you already.
Decker went on to explain his concept of Youpreneur or The Business of You in this 267-page book. The book is organized into three major parts:
Much of what Ducker shared could be very much associated with starting a business. However, the analysis that you are going to do focuses on you as an individual rather than the business. You are going to have to sit down and reflect on what makes you someone that others will want to do business with.
Publisher: 4C Press
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Sales rank: 643,104
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)
Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars 466 ratings
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