Thought leadership. how to become a thought leader

Table of Contents

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Thought Leadership: Denise Brosseau

What is thought leadership and how might you convey that?

In this podcast episode, Denise Brosseau, a thought leader about thought leadership, discusses the concept of thought leadership and its importance in creating change and spreading ideas.

She explains that thought leaders aim to impact a wider audience and create a movement. Denise emphasizes the need for codifying and documenting lessons learned and effective change strategies to enable others to carry forward these ideas.

She also discusses the role of the CEO as a thought leader and the importance of trust in thought leadership. Denise believes that anyone can become a thought leader and emphasizes the need for rest and renewal practices to avoid burnout.

The difference between a leader and a thought leader [00:01:50]
Explains the distinction between a leader and a thought leader and how thought leadership involves influencing those with no direct connection.

Making change through thought leadership [00:03:14]
Discusses how thought leadership is about making change, whether it's social change or business transformation, and the importance of adopting new ways of thinking and acting.

Systematizing and documenting thought leadership [00:04:27]
Emphasizes the need to codify and document lessons learned and effective change strategies in order to create a framework that others can pick up and carry forward.

The importance of thought leadership for the CEO [00:11:16]
Denise discusses the significance of the CEO being the thought leader of the organization and the need for their buy-in and support.

Multiple thought leaders within an organization [00:13:30]
Denise explains that organizations can have more than one thought leader and highlights the example of Salesforce hiring a well-known thought leader to identify potential thought leaders within the organization.

Developing skills and tools for thought leadership [00:17:40]
Denise talks about the skills and tools needed for thought leadership, including clear writing and speaking, crafting a memorable message, creating visual frameworks, and effectively communicating with different audiences.

Becoming a Thought Leader in Different Arenas [00:21:49]
Denise discusses the process of transitioning from being a thought leader in one arena to another.

Thought Leadership as Career Insurance [00:22:52]
Denise explains how being a thought leader can provide career insurance and make individuals more desirable to organizations.

Identifying Thought Leaders [00:25:00]
Denise shares tips on how to identify thought leaders, including checking their online presence and observing their behaviors such as amplifying ideas and convening communities.

Becoming a Thought Leader [00:31:51]
Denise Brosseau discusses the importance of curating information and consistently providing the best information for people.

Rest and Renewal Practices [00:33:00]
Denise Brosseau talks about the need for rest and renewal in the journey of thought leadership, referencing Jane Fonda's perspective on change.

Pacing Yourself and Building Community [00:34:47]
Denise Brosseau emphasizes the need to pace oneself in the pursuit of thought leadership and the importance of being part of a larger movement and community.

The Power of Thought Leadership: A Conversation with Denise Brosseau

In a recent episode of the "Your Intended Message" podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Denise Brosseau, a renowned thought leader on thought leadership. Denise is the author of the bestseller "Ready to be a Thought Leader" and the founder of Thought Leadership Lab. Our conversation was enlightening, and I'm excited to share the insights we discussed.

Understanding Thought Leadership

Denise began by distinguishing thought leadership from traditional leadership. While leaders influence those they have a direct connection to, thought leaders aim to impact a wider audience and spread their ideas. Thought leadership, according to Denise, is about creating a movement and inspiring people to think and act in new ways.

One key point Denise emphasized is that thought leadership isn't a self-proclaimed title. It's about creating change and encouraging people to adopt new ways of thinking and acting. The key to thought leadership, she believes, is being able to codify and document one's lessons learned and effective change strategies. By creating a guidebook, blueprint, or visual framework, thought leaders can enable others to pick up and carry forward their ideas.

The Role of CEOs in Thought Leadership

Denise and I also discussed the role of the CEO or head of an organization as a thought leader. Denise believes that the CEO is often the most logical candidate to be labeled as the thought leader of the organization. However, it's crucial for the CEO to understand and buy into the business case for thought leadership. Without their support, it becomes difficult for anyone else in the organization to make progress.

Trust, Denise emphasized, is vital in thought leadership. The CEO needs to see themselves as the voice of the organization and understand that stakeholders need to trust them to do business with them. Denise helps CEOs broaden their understanding of their role beyond just making money or employing more people.

Multiple Thought Leaders in an Organization

When I asked if there is room for more than one thought leader within an organization, Denise responded affirmatively. She gave the example of Salesforce, which hired a well-known thought leader to identify potential thought leaders within the organization and spread their ideas. Denise also mentioned that thought leadership is a journey and that individuals can become thought leaders in different areas over time.

Transitioning Thought Leadership

Denise discussed the concept of transitioning from being a thought leader in one area to becoming a thought leader in a different field. She believes that if a thought leader leaves behind frameworks, books, videos, or models that continue to be followed and referenced, then they can be considered successful thought leaders.

Thought Leadership as Career Insurance

We also touched on the idea of thought leadership as career insurance. Denise explained that when hiring, organizations look for individuals who have the skills of a thought leader. These skills include the ability to influence, have an impact with their ideas, and bring people along. Being a thought leader can make someone desirable to work with and for, as they possess a set of skills that can help organizations spread their message and drive change.

The Importance of Being a Curator of Information

Denise emphasized the importance of being a curator of information and consistently providing valuable content to your audience. She suggested using various mediums like newsletters, social media, or short videos on platforms like TikTok to share information with your audience.

The Cycle of Enthusiasm and Exhaustion

Finally, we discussed whether thought leaders go through cycles of excitement and burnout. Denise confirmed that it is very normal for thought leaders to experience cycles of enthusiasm and exhaustion. She shared a quote from Jane Fonda's book, highlighting the shift in perspective from thinking of change as a sprint to realizing it's a marathon and eventually a relay race.

Denise advises thought leaders to pace themselves and find passion in their chosen cause. She emphasizes the importance of being part of a larger movement and passing the baton to other leaders when the time is right.

In conclusion, my conversation with Denise Brosseau was a deep dive into the world of thought leadership. It was a reminder of the power of ideas and the impact they can have when shared effectively. Whether you're a CEO, an aspiring thought leader, or someone interested in the concept, I hope you find these insights as valuable as I did.